Joe Hall is a writer and teacher who lives in Kenmore, NY. He has published some books of poetry with Black Ocean Press.

2 poems by Joe Hall

Sent to an alien in a capsule full of brass liquor

Stranger, I have been walking through the city of this planet, sometimes on 3 legs, sometimes on 6. I am an indecisive walker. My eyebrows brush the corners of buildings. The hair on the back of my hands touches the side-stalks of strangers. Sometimes I look down a busy street and do not see people but where they are combing each other—like an eye that blinks, lashes folding. 

And through tremors that run between us, I know where to eat, where there is music I like, what to think of before I sleep to have the best dreams. I know how to bargain for a reasonably priced burial mound. I know where a space in the city will open for me to walk untouched and untouching. I know. 

Stranger, in this southern city it used to be our greatest pleasure to receive from some neighbor’s tendril a message from an island in the Northern Sea. It used to be our greatest pleasure to think we had carried it across the whole planet in the electricity of our bodies. I do not know what is happening now. We know we are all here. But are we listening? Every message seems folded in dented static. It’s familiar, even if we cant place it. I have heard some call our closeness, our combing, pain. 

Stranger, I know this will sound greedy. It is greedy. But we need you. We do not need a savior. We need wanderers. We need homeseekers. We need refugees. This is a good home. We love this city. It isn’t perfect. It wont be easy, but, stranger, we need you.

Every quaking night, 
 

from Phone Pieces

Phone Piece 1: Sushi Phone

Go to a sushi buffet with a friend who has a lovely spirit.
Lay your phone flat on the table,
see how many pieces of sushi
you can fit on your phone—stack it high 
then eat your sushi-phone
while you talk with
your lovely spirited friend.

 


Phone Piece 2

You let a lot of people down.
Now nobody calls.