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 of my readings with images.
Our Holiday Tradition
I’m in the car with my brother-in-law going for take-out,
same as last year and the year before. Day after Christmas,
what Larry calls Boxing Day, Larry and I get sent out for calzone.
It’s what they do, Larry and the Oh-So-Lovely. Eat calzone on Boxing Day.
It has that new car smell, same as last year.
Except last year it was a Lexus and the year before that, an Audi.
This is some electric job I don’t even know the name of.
So what, Larry? I say, You get a new car every year?
I say that because I can’t get it out of my nose, the newness.
Larry chuckles. He’s a chuckler, that Larry. And he says,
Right before the holidays, that’s when I swap over.
“Swap over,” I think. Like as long as you’re just swapping over,
it costs nothing, whereas I know, when I did my trade-in
which was what? seven years ago? It costs plenty.
Next summer, when Larry is at our house,
Larry the Chuckler with his Oh-So-Lovely,
soon as the fireworks are finished, we’ll get sent for lo mein.
What is this, a Nissan? he’ll say, like he don’t know it’s a Nissan,
like it hasn’t been a Nissan for the past seven freaking years.
And I’ll say, Yeah, Larry. A Nissan.
Me and Larry, going for the lo mein.
©2016 Joel Johnson