Joel F. Johnson
I'm a businessman and chronic English major who began writing poetry about ten years ago. Sometimes, I find myself switching back and forth between a spreadsheet and an unfinished poem. My first book of poems, Where Inches Seem Miles, was published by Antrim House at the end of 2013. In 2014, Kirkus Reviews selected it as one of the best books of the year in the Indie category. I've benefited from workshops at the Concord Poetry Center and from the journals which have published my work, including Rattle, Blackbird, and Salamander. My website, joelfjohnson.com, includes a few videos where I've attempted to combine a reading with appropriate images.
Outside the Trump Rally
I have pumped gas, climbed poles for the county,
poured asphalt, blown leaves, scraped paint,
drove nails, drove deliveries and delivered pizza.
I’ve picked up garbage and dropped off mulch.
I’ve done a little plumbing, a little wiring
and so much roofing I can barely close my eyes
without slipping down the pitch of a split-level.
I have never saved a mother-loving dime.
I cash my check, spend it hard,
sleep if off and go back broke.
There’s no exit on the interstate
I haven’t tried. Pay me extra on Friday
and I’ll be a good ways gone by Saturday night.
I’ve slept in corn fields, wheat fields, peanut fields and clover,
beneath tractor-trailers, under overpasses, inside dumpsters
and cheek-to-jowl with stray dogs,
half-naked whores and rats the size of moving vans.
If the room ain’t week-to-week, I don’t rent it.
I keep what I love in a zip-lock bag:
my pistol, my comb and my lucky pecan.
©2016 Joel Johnson
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