Saturday 3 June 2023

Three Poems by John Yamrus

he was in

a nursing home

memory unit.


last time

i was there he was in

wrinkled blue pajamas and a robe.

we sat

in the community room


the tv was on

and the place had that

smell of medicine, sweat and old age.

sitting there,

across from him,

trying to cheer him up,

i said:

my father-in-law

always used to say: don’t get old...

i guess

he liked that,

because he smiled,

looked down at the floor

and said (almost to himself):

i’m not old,

i’m just a young guy

something really bad happened to.

i worked

as a

bill collector once...


a week.


as long

as it lasted.


not even that long.


just a couple of days.

i just

couldn’t take

the sad, transparent

excuses made by people

who had even less than me...

and i

had nothing.

i already

knew their excuses


their lies.

i knew

that all they wanted

was for me to turn around

and get

off their porch

and leave them alone.


that’s why it

hardly even hurt

when i got pushed down a flight of stairs


some guy

in a red shirt

who couldn’t take

getting pushed around anymore


finally decided



push back.

he said



eight hours

to hear me read.

i didn’t

know if that meant

4 hours each way, or 8 straight thru.



matter much,

because he left

before it was over,


he never

bought a book, anyway.

John Yamrus - In a career spanning more than 50 years as a working writer, John Yamrus has published 35 books (29 volumes of poetry, 2 novels, 3 volumes of non-fiction and a children’s book). He has also had more than 3,000 poems published in magazines and anthologies around the world. A number of his books and poems are taught in college and university courses. He is widely considered to be a master of minimalism and the neo-noir in modern poetry. His latest books are TWENTY FOUR POEMS and SELECTED POEMS: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT. A second volume of his poetry was just released in Europe, translated by Fadil Bajraj..


1 comment:

  1. Really good stuff, especially like the last one


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