the cruelest

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lately
if spring should appear
may is merely
minutes away
with a few cherry blossoms
pink and white
frosted over
many green buds
stillborn
and rain showers
cold
gray
not like the aprils
when i was young
or was that a dream
this is why we aspire to ascend
to leave the dirt and dust behind

©A. D. Joyce, 2018

apartment living

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i remember
sometimes, over and above
the sound of our television,
i could hear her screaming
at her eight year old son roy,
a kid a year younger than me,
who lived in the apartment upstairs.
the louder and more staccato
she would hurl her words,
the more often the counterpoint
of his yelps of pain.
it usually ended
with the thud of his body
slammed against a wall.
we didn’t play together much,
but sometimes i would see him
walking his thin sad-eyed dog
that had bruise marks on his ribs
where roy would kick him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

©A. D. Joyce, 2017

concurrent events

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the story is centuries old
the land-raped
government-corrupted
children of africa
are laid waste to starvation
kidnapped
exploited
strewn lifeless across dirt roads
bulleted and bled out
their innocence is not lost
simply subjected to indifference

the recently poisoned
breathless
convulsing
children of syria
for whom we would
sacrifice our own
in military aid
are equally as precious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©A. D. Joyce, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2016: Three Poems

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When I was a kid, I was fascinated with all things outer space–planets, the moon, stars, and sun. Solar eclipses were exciting, and I remember trying to make an eclipse viewer with pieces of cardboard. There’s a total eclipse happening tonight, so in its honor, here are a trio of poems from past posts. They hint at the possibilities and flights of imagination that the heavens inspire in me.

voidascenevolution©A. D. Joyce, 2016

A Matter of Record

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Earlier this year, I visited the neighborhood I lived in as a young child (see my poem, in search of a play). I hadn’t been there since the family moved from there. I knew the house was long gone–replaced by highway–but I didn’t expect what remained of the residential area  to be so quiet, worn, and tired. But life indeed goes on.

All photos by A.D. Joyce.

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The street abruptly stops short here now.

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My old house would have been on the far side of the highway.

 

 

©A. D. Joyce, 2014

The Beginning and the End

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In my early memory,
You were there

And then you were not,
I think.

And after you left,
The space you occupied
Was invisible
Except for a smell
Much like
The inside of a freezer
When there is nothing in it.

Your space smelled like
The cold air with–
I think–
A hint of aftershave
Hovering over/erasing
The faint aroma of something unsavory
(I’m not sure what).

But coming from that space
Was a smell that left me catatonic
(A state that is not quiet nor still,
But thunderous and quaking with
A single thought flapping
Faster than a hummingbird’s wings–
Too fast to form meaning into words).

My thought was a question
Winging so hard
I could not move from the spot
Next to your empty space.

With each flap,
The rift between heart and soul
And the rest of me
Widened and deepened with the knowledge–
I was too young to understand–
That you did not love me
The way I loved you,
That, in fact, you hated me,
And your aftershave covered
The stale smell of
Cigarettes and alcohol,
A smell so permeating and near
It seemed to come from me.

The weight of your smell
Was shame covering me
In a manner I can’t recall.

All I know is,
Everything begins and ends
At the point where
You left your cold spot empty
And I was lying next to it
Loudly shaking
In unmoved silence,
Disillusioned and transformed
By a father’s drunken violation,
Wondering what had just happened,
What for, why me
(Who loved you).

From my e-book, Like. Love. Hate. available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.

©A. D. Joyce, 2014

Octogenarian

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I was the smallest girl in second grade
and Miss Perry, a clear-eyed
pretty bird of a teacher,
always picked me
to help her
with the little classroom chores.
I had a sister who had
more friends than I did and the other
was smarter. But every day
I would dream I was
the belle of the ball.
No matter what the weather,
I declared my life a holiday.
These memories often visit me
during the day, imagine that,
all these years later, life later,
all the joys and tragedies later.
At night, I worry about
the one breath that won’t return to me.
In the end, thoughts don’t die.

(Written for the “Midweek Motif” over at the Poets United blog. The prompt was titled “Holy Days and Holidays.”)

©A. D. Joyce, 2014

in search of a play

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it is the height of summer
in a residential neighborhood
the sun is a bare spotlight
on me age seven
standing on the front porch stage right
while people carry boxes
from my house to the truck
the little boy who comes over to play
asks where are you going
i say that we are moving
and i know my answer is a tangent
but it is the best i can muster
i start to say that daddy is not coming with us
but i am pulled by the hand
to exit in a daze stage left
the neighborhood is watching
and as i get into the car
i wonder if i will ever see
the little boy again

©A. D. Joyce, 2014