apartment living


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


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

the recently poisoned
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


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


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.


The street abruptly stops short here now.


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



©A. D. Joyce, 2014

The Beginning and the End


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