Thursday, August 13, 2015

Joseph Reich Charles Atlas Poems

Someone recently asked me what criteria I use to decide if I'm reading a great poem or not. And I immediately responded "I don't." Because my response to poetry isn't based on a good/bad continuum. I'm more interested in something that makes me say WTF was that? Did they just say that? That's the kind of poetry I like to read here at ZLR. Here are some poems from a book-length manuscript titled A Psychological Hx Of Charles Atlas
151 proofs & figures by Joseph Reich. I have no idea what any of this is about or what inspired it, and that's the way I like it, but this is a book that should be in print.

C.Atlas fig. #80

Still searching for dropped off chunk of umbilical chord
lost chords from beatle’s love songs i loved whose one
note could move you like nothing else could those rare
quartz mica rocks my best friend neighbor and i used
to discover in the pachysandra in the woods of his
backyard the blood the sun the weird stray dogs
wandering around the waterfall of the pond
of that strange split-level set back in the forest
of the dead end of suburbs you never wanted
to come out of all the earth and mud and blood
you knew o too well all eventually magically turning
to dust to sand from the land trying to steal as much
as you can before you had to go in caked on your
canvas pants with patches on them you victoriously
courageously ripped right through a true-blue sign
of the seasons and spirit and essence of what it was
to be a kid and super hero and grown man the fathers
in the garment district and diamond district and stock
market you never saw all those girls you did and they
did you way too young always feeling guilty unloved
fishsticks and leftover stuffed cabbage...

C.Atlas fig. #84

Before i go i see all the santas and wise men
deflated on front lawns the deflated husbands
and what the years have done to them the deflated
wives “flesh-colored” bloodless without pigmentation
who haven’t been touched in ages and always bending
over in promiscuous positions so you can get a bird’s eye
view and all their little angels really devils and delinquents
in parochial school involved in some sort of mischief and
can’t stay out of trouble as you arrive at the workout club
with all the college girls and milfs the former purely
physical and athletic and the latter existential and
emotional both looking to get all their emptiness
all their holes filled up and for you to proverbially
and spiritually ‘serve and protect’ and save them,

C.Atlas fig. #87

Finally at last at the health club today
they turned off all that satanic repetitive
designer drug-driven idiotic house music
which sweeps and seems to take over your
essence your mind body heart and soul and
out of nowhere casually heard in the background
“we almost lost detroit” and thought
hadn’t heard that in so damn long and man
that just seemed to say it all and didn’t mind
hearing it over & over we almost lost detroit…

C.Atlas fig. #88

Screen 1: On the treadmills again and dreamed
over the muted tv over h.g.t.v. all those perfect
little responsible goody-goody lily-white killcasians
were replicating themselves until they all looked
acted exactly the same had the exact same friends
the exact same token minorities not too many so
they wouldn’t feel too uncomfortable asked
the exact same questions and the exact
same personalities and affectations
“we were sort of hoping for granite
for an outdoor shower for a view
of the mountains” as if all of
this was expected and entitled
as wasn’t sure if it was just me
but dreamed those little goodygoody
lily-white killcasians muted
over h.g.t.v. had replicated themselves
until they were all looking and acting exactly
the same and man just had to stay on the treadmills
just a little longer to get myself grounded back in reality,. 

C.Atlas fig. #89

Scream 2: Think there should be an h.g.t.v. where some family
bum-rushes them and does a sudden intervention but for nothing
like drugs or chemical dependency but for just being way too damn
corny and goody-goody and predictable and boring and privileged
and entitlement and scream you’re never grateful or contented
it’s just about me! me! me! me! me! me! me! about rooms
always being way too tiny and your jacuzzi and walk-in
closets and your granite goddamn if i have to hear about
granite one more fucken time i think i’m gonna die
and the proximity of your neighbors, well how in
the hell you know they even want to be near you
you nauseating wishy-washy fake exclusive
mean-spirited passive-aggressive bastards
or something eloquent to that effect
and they just break down sobbing
looking real pale and pasty
right into the camera,

Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals
both here and abroad, been nominated five times for The Pushcart Prize, and
his most recent books include, "A Different  Sort Of Distance" (Skive Magazine
Press) "If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge " (Flutter Press) "Pain
Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half"
(Brick Road Poetry Press) "Drugstore Sushi" (Thunderclap Press)  "The Derivation
Of Cowboys & Indians" (Fomite Press) "The Housing Market: a comfortable place
to jump off the end of the world" (Fomite Press) "The Hole That Runs Through
Utopia" (Fomite Press)  "Taking The Fifth And Running With It: a psychological
guide for the hard of hearing and blind" (Broadstone Books) "The Defense
Mechanisms: your survival guide to the fragile mind" (Fomite Press)

See two longer pieces from this book at Outsider Poetry

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