Monday 14 February 2022

Two Poems by Joy Gaines-Friedler


I Reject A Famous Poet Who Once Told Me

Do Not Say the Word Love In A Poem

Instead You Must Show It.


It will turn into a glass door.

A bird will fly into it.


You must wear a wet suit around it.

The newspapers will fly into its face.


Yesterday's game loss sits on it like a tantrum.

This is getting annoying –


It is the water coursing through the base board heat

the caroling fan that works – then doesn't

the scissors too dull to make a smooth cut—

(it can't get through easily. It shifts.) Rather than

throw it out – find a hardware store with a good sharpener!


What do we give ourselves over to

when we act a bit kinder?


Oh! the staccato percolations on the gutters

when it starts to rain – and I think let’s make coffee,

say earth, say, save us dear Love from our droughts.


Today rain pings the skylight.


For too long the red bud has survived without

enough water and then finally – love! (I mean, rain!)


No one, especially me, knew the effect of drought


until I saw that tree go plump,

                       its heartwood fully hydrated. Says, Things are Buzzing


says the word of the day is

Paparazzo, which made it


into the dictionary after Fellini’s

La Dolce Vita included a character

by that name, Paparazzo, who took snapshots

of beautiful women.


Maybe I wanted to be one of those women

bikini-clad and waving from the rooftop—


waving at a helicopter floating a statue of Jesus

all over the city.


Maybe Fellini’s Paparazzo is another poet

looking to capture what words cannot.


Or a cynic looking to sell to the lowest

bidder, another bit of low-brow culture

my lit teacher calls postmodern.


(I wonder how we can be living

in the modern "now” and be beyond it

at the same time.)


A friend says

We are reborn each day.


Seems painful - all that resurrection.


Yet, each morning my skin feels firm,

smooth, something that persists, pursues even—

something buzzing.

Joy Gaines-Friedler is the author of three books of poetry, her most recent Capture Theory (Kelsay Books, 2018) is a Forward Review Indiefab Finalist, and an Edward Hoffer Award, Finalist. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, her work is published in over 80 anthologies and literary magazines including The New York Quarterly, The San Pedro River Review, Rattle, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Stone On A Stone is a 2021 winner of The Friends of Poetry, Celery City Chapbook Contest. Joy teaches creative writing for communities at risk, including the prison creative arts project.


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