Joseph Farley, US




Free Verse


Failed Couple


Your desire to exist
and my desire to live
can not coalesce.
We are separate beings
with distinct ways
of thinking,
and sex is merely a bridge
for genes to cross,
not knowledge or understanding.



Snow and Ice


a smile can be so cold
you need to put on a sweater.
a handshake can send
a chill through your bones,
and if words speak affection
it is time to run and hide,
something bad is coming.

there are practiced liars,
masters of manipulation,
maybe not successful
in terms of wealth and fame,
but comfortable ruining lives.

avoid all contact lest
you catch something virulent.
watch your back.
watch your wallet.
watch the clock.
look for a way
to make distance,
and catch the next
bus out of town.



Mistakes Are The Source Of Creation


Errors are of value.
They have made us who we are.
If we were meant for perfection
we would still squirm
in the primordial goo
as god's first draft germ.



Praise Be Ed


"Tomorrow is another day."
So it seems. Then again
each day seems the same
loop repeated,
an endless rerun
of "I Love Lucy"
and "Mr. Ed."

I learned more
from the horse's mouth
then from the red head
and the band leader.

I have always sought wisdom
in the words of others.
Sometimes I have found it.
There is no god but Ed,
and Wilbur is his prophet.



Contractor Hell


Six days I've been waiting while water leaks from a pipe
and air escapes through a broken glass door,
a baseball still lodged between the panes.
The contractor says he's coming, but never shows.
My boss thinks I've abandoned my job, but I tell her
I'm just at home waiting for the repairman to arrive.
Appointments are canceled. Estimates change and costs expand.
Still the house must get fixed before the rain and cold
make a nomadic life or slash and burn
seem more attractive than ownership.



Thief of Heaven


The thief who stole heaven
will not give it back.

It took him too long to find
and pick the lock.

He will not part with it now.
See him run with salvation under his arm

basking in happiness
as the sirens whine.



Fish Bones


in a dry
river bed

yellow clay

in the heat



the bell


you summon me
to open doors;
you tell me
to get out of bed;
you call me
when the phone's
for me,
the dinner's cooked,
there's a stranger
in the house.

you sound
and i salivate,
leap through hoops

who is the master here?



Slow Fires



in the girders
of the bridge

cast brown
in the sun

roped off
for demolition



a man
in his bed,
from inside

gnaw flesh;

this too
has been

on a chart



steel anchors
span the river
the cancer ward

a new bridge
as the old

there is
no need
to resurrect
the other



The City


the city
is old
and sits
on a river

the river
is old
each year
the bank
grows smaller
a little bit
of the city
slips away

some day
the whole town
will wash downstream,
a tragedy
for those who live there
but imagine
the face
of the beachcomber
who stumbles upon
on some distant



Point Loma


We waited to see
where the whales rode through
the mouth of the harbor,
but the road closed
at 5:15
and the guard didn't like
our u turn
reminded us,
"This is a military installation."

We never got to see the whales,
or the sunset your camera begged for.
It's just as well.
The setting would have been wrong.
The film would have
come out

too dark or bright,
and the sounds
of the marching
on the parade grounds
would have drowned out
the singing
of leviathan.





Darkness is the absence of light,
no separate thing, substance,
fluid injected into the night
to color the sky black.

What is an iamb to me?
I sing of the absence of sound
in a muffled voice
so the birds can not hear
and imitate, nailed to their perches
on the ledges of bank windows.

You are the electrifying spark
that illuminates my night.
Oh burning filament!
You are my light bulb!

What is the difference
between kinky sex and perverted sex?
Kinky sex is a feather;
perverted sex is the whole duck.



Neo Psalm 20


God is God
no need to bend your knee
no need to pay fealty
to a feudal lord

God is God
what need has He
for peasantry?

Kneel or sit
cross legged or not
stand or lay
upon a couch

all postures are the same
for God if God is God
and we are merely human



Neo Psalm 16


The ancients had drums.
All men had drums.
And there were bows
and stringed instruments
and wooden flutes
and metal horns
or hollowed horns
from bulls or goats
and conch shells blown.
Such music stirred
lives and faith.
So should we
strum and bang and blow
and sing until voices fail
and so make the world
joyful as the noise
we make unto God.



Neo-Psalm 14


make a joyful noise
a whisper or a gasp
in the heated night
clutch at pillows and sheets
roll your head from side to side
heave your chest
and rock your belly
and know that this moment is good
and was given to you
and you alone
a tender bud
opening in moonlight
to the enormity of all
that is seen and unseen









to the top



Copyright 2006-2010 Sketchbook and  All rights reserved