Two Poems | by Josh Smith

Surrogate X-Mind Edifice

What the hell is that rash?

Oh! Ohhhh! I’ve got the Black Plague!
Oh! God, how did I get the Plague? Ohhhh!

Wait…that’s not my leg…
Sorry sir.

Hey, see that arrow pointing down? Inside joke.
Denny Crane remembers Mother Goose well.
Free Imus, scramble the eggs, burn the toast.

Hey you, you get off my lawn!
My generation doesn’t like you.
You don’t know our story. You drive on in your rented life.

I can’t keep up, at least I can think.

 

 

Receipts And Business Cards

The business cards are a roadmap across my coffee table,
the sweat-stained timeline of where I’ve gone and neglected to go,
numbers I don’t call back, and emails I’ll never send.
I play games with these business cards.

B7
I could have done a radio interview.

N18
They wanted me to speak at a school.

G56
Bingo. There’s that poem I started writing
somewhere between Orlando and Evansville.
The other half is on a receipt, for batteries somewhere in Canada.

The receipts are a supplement; they provide topography for the map.

A bodega deep in the city:
I bought a bandana and a quart of iced tea.
8:57pm

230 miles between gas stations on the turnpike.
3:04 and 7:18pm

They sit on my coffee table in piles that slope and spill, and threaten to ensnare.
They fall all over my clothing-patched floor when I sneeze or gesture vigorously,
but they do not get put in their rightful place.
They are a warning:

Do not disturb. This man cannot answer you. This man is held prisoner. Go away.

 

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Josh Smith is a Harvard-educated poet whose work has been published across the United States, Canada, and Australia, including outlets such as RampikeBlazevox, and Ploughshares. He is a former host of the Art Bar Poetry Series in Toronto, and has performed coast to coast across North America.

 

 

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