Tag Archives: Joseph Farley

Preacher Man

by Joseph Farley

A cranky man dressed in black stands ranting on a corner.
He could be a priest, he might as well be,
as he preaches the word to an audience of pedestrians and motorists
who barely notice him.

His bald head is covered with a baseball cap.
His appearance could make you laugh,
but in his soul there is fire and his lips spout flame.
None should dismiss him as insane.

There is a spirit in him you might not know,
but you can hear its voice speaking through him loud and clear.
The images are not pleasant but that does not mean they are false.
Every ear needs need to bristle now then.

A stranger might reveal a simple and embarrassing truth
such as “your fly is down” or “you have food on your lip”
or provide a more subtle message that speaks to the self
or signal where and how the community is in pain.

You can choose not to take one of his cheap fliers,
or put coins or bills in the box his feet dance around,
but even if you try hard you cannot bar his words
from bouncing around in your brain.

This is his show, this corner his stage, his Las Vegas, his Broadway.
The price of admission is air and wind and sun and time,
and the reward you get from pausing a moment in passing
could be worth every dime.


Things I Have Learned

by Joseph Farley

it’s okay to run with scissors in your hands
if you are not in a crowd and know how to fall.

East is East and West is West,
but they meet all the time for coffee.

God is great, but he still forgets
his house keys.

Love lasts, but lovers change.
They need to be rotated like tires
every few seasons.

Drunkenness and lack of sleep
can make you feel much the same.

No matter what occurs
someone will get praised
and someone will get blamed.

You know damn well
you won’t be the one
getting the praise.

You must become masterful
at shifting the blame.

Poetry like money is utterly valueless
unless you infuse it with meaning.

Money is a symbol of what we want.
Poetry is a symbol of what we need.

Going Under

by Joseph Farley

Someone has pulled the handle,
we are going round and round,
all trying desperately
to get out before the thing goes down.

The rats know when to leave,
so do some of the clowns,
it’s the schmoes who do the work
who will be the last ones around

clinging to thoughts of pensions
while the company implodes.
The business has gone Titanic
and the only golden lifeboat
is for the CEO.


by Joseph Farley

Flying through the air I think of your black hair,
your full lips and the curve of your breast,

Then I hit the ground hard and must break fall
so bones are merely bruised and not broken.

The brain bounces around in its skull box
and creates a deficit of neurons,

but such damage could be a good thing
as the best memories were up there in the air,

What happened before and after
I am only too eager to forget.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Poet

by Joseph Farley

Well, maybe he’s not that friendly.
or maybe he is,
but you feel there is something odd about him,
the way he sometimes doesn’t speak,
or stares at people or things or nothing at all
for longer than makes you your comfortable.
Just understand it is all part of the process of reverie.
The image is planted in the brain.
There it takes root and grows into words.
That must be followed wherever they lead,
even if the lines that sprout make the neighbors
sweat and squirm.
Hell, that’s probably what he is hoping for.