After earning a Master's Degree from the University of Illinois, Joe joined the U of I staff as editor of the International Journal of Accounting. He then served an internship in museum public relations at the Smithsonian Institution and directed public relations for three major nonprofit organizations in the Chicago region. Currently retired, he has embarked on a new career as a stand up comedian, "The Oldest Man in the Room." He concentrates on writing. He has won several poetry awards. His poems and stories have appeared in many literary journals.
See Joe's poetry blog here.
The XYZ's of Our Existence
by Joe Larkin
About these afternoon acquaintances,
amphetamine appointments, we did not argue
anymore, but knew that we were bored
because things backfired when we were
between bars and bedrooms, bottles, blonds,
broken bodies. Breathing brought our chests close
to closing, contractions conspired to choke claw-like.
We felt like cold cobblestones that first day.
But a new day dawned and the doctor decided
to develop a diary of our drinking and drugging
and doled out draughts, drops and dressings.
Every time our eyes opened, our fears evaporated.
We finally found the faith to follow his advice
and he fixed us up first class.
My ghostly girlfriend grew gentler;
she gave me her gun to hold in the hotel hallway.
I imagined an instant of inconvenience
and indifference as some jerk kissed her lips,
her lacy lingerie left looking like some macabre
magazine melded in my memory, her naked neck
in the next-door neighbor's notebook.
Of course, once I opened my eyes, our party
picked up and we progressed with our pretensions,
she the prostitute and I the priest,
on a perfect planet pressed like quicksilver
raindrops reflecting a shocking sacred scene.
We left and took a table near three transvestites
who undid each other under the table.
A visiting Vietnamese waiter whispered
a welcome and withdrew to the window
while we worried and wondered how
we'd ever write the XYZs of our existence.
Copyright © 2006 by Joe Larkin