Joseph Goosey

First Place, Joe Bolton Poetry Award

 
A note from the judge, David Dodd Lee: What I like about Joseph Goosey’s poems is the shadow narrative they try to avoid making too obvious, so far-flung and in love are they with improvisation and the kinetics of sound. Nothing I read for this award brought me back so intensely to my love of the sentence, and that’s because Goosey’s are always breaking prematurely (gloriously, across lines), then rushing up from the rear. I’m always half where I think I am in these poems, and yet the intelligence behind the articulation in these lines has such authority. “No Soon Like O Too Soon” goes everywhere I need a poem to go, which is to say it hardly stays on point, and yet it’s a completely natural arrival by the last line. The particulars along the way, from a Tim Dlugos poem and the Paris Review to Monopoly “catered toward kids,” tell the story of one fascinating couple of weeks or are a record merely of a startlingly original imagination (I’d say both these things are probably true). And damn if the slang and plain talk in these poems aren’t underwritten by the soul of a formal poet. I was really enchanted by this work, such serious play. I could read Goosey’s lines for hours and hours and hope at some point in the future I will be able to do just that.


No Soon Like O Too Soon

L DOES NOT EQUAL A. NOT HERE. NOT EVER.

Greed For Sensation Will Not Be Permitted As Documentary Evidence


 

 

No Soon Like O Too Soon

 
4 are dead and maybe more,
I don’t know.
I haven’t looked.
I’m afraid to look. Looking
makes it all knock
like an analogy
that won’t leave us alone.
It happened to one of them
while plugging in
a brand new generator
purchased especially
for the occasion.
Here too, there’s a generator
purchased especially
for occasions such as this
by the former owner
of these roofs, also dead—
not from anything recent—
but from the natural ebb
of falling on 1’s face
at 91. (He saw his wife
in the hospital
every day and possibly
that contributes.)
He should know
that we’re safe now and
that having a generator
just makes us treat this
as though it were a party and
maybe it is. Funerals
can be parties too. I said to mom
a couple weeks ago
that I don’t care none
for any final resting place
and just to please make sure—
if she were ever in a position
to plan my funeral—
that people could laugh
and people could talk shit,
to make sure
to serve tacos and margs.
Back to the party:
I pre-gamed
by reading the daily email
from the Paris Review
‘cause I can’t afford
or don’t actually want
a print subscription.
It was a poem
by Tim Dlugos and
Corragan was in the kitchen
frying eggs while
we could still fry eggs
and I quoted the poem,
said something
about queens and AIDS.
Inside of it, Tim said
something about AIDS
only being a fraction
of an unknown whole
but not that exactly
not so much
that I could get sued
by his estate
in the event he has one.
After that we shopped
for just the essentials
including a bag
of fiesta mix cheese,
cookies, a version
of Monopoly
catered toward kids,
wine and
were shut down
at self-checkout
by a woman
doing her god’s work
‘cause C. didn’t have ID.
Walmart wasn’t slangin’
this particular sin
but all the rest
for free
is not at all
how whatever that song is
has ever gone before
in the history
of drunken appropriation.
In the comments section
of our local paper
there is a senior citizen
welled up behind the moat
of believing he’s correct
all of the time and
I don’t yet give up
but the prognosis
is increasingly
O NO A GHOST
inside the building.
Ghosts aside,
while actually
they’re heeere:
for most of the day
I hung out
in a German-cut
dress. Others
went to work
pleasing others
by fixing electricity
not needed
for living. Tigers—
I imagine—
holed up
inside of holes.
Is this how 1 spells
going on without?
I looked or
I just tried to look
to make sure 4
is still correct
when it comes
to the # of dead and
I can’t confirm
nor deny. The WiFi’s
out. We’re not. I feel
any day 1 don’t drown
is okay regardless
if the ensemble
seems too formal.
 
 
 
 


 

L DOES NOT EQUAL A. NOT HERE. NOT EVER.

 
Somebody’s endangered the porcupette! I woke
sweating and stable. I haven’t told my family
I’ve been weaning the mush off chemicals. Soon
I’ll be afraid I’m not telling you too. Soon
you’re to be family. On what date do we melt?
Soon I’ll be so fucking afraid that the inverse-now
becomes a shared reality. To abandon you
in the stuff of nightmares that is a local SEARS
would be punishable by experiencing utopia.
 
 
 
 



 

Greed For Sensation Will Not Be Permitted As Documentary Evidence

 
The walls felt a rasp
For the entirety of an anchorless summer
Probably the one
During 2016
It was an asinine period
Scheduled to be discounted
By the history
Of recorded religions
And jackasses
I sat in this chair
A gift from human resources
Because probably [I] like drugs
I was hanging out
Inside a second life
Since I couldn’t manage
To get poked
By spending time
Inside of the first
Similar to the first
The second life
Was near empty with totality
and I’d dress the body
Of the avatar
The way you dressed your Bitmoji
Tonight
With accuracy and care
But also
With just a little more latex
The avatar would gather the confidence
To approach not flesh
But pixels or
Whatever shows up
On an expensive screen
And it should be said
Humans were not
Ever acting as actors
On the other side
Is there a third exit
Anywhere including
Stage bottom
For the entirety of an anchorless summer
The walls felt a rasp
As an ache formed
 
 
 
 


JOSEPH GOOSEY is the author of the chapbook, STUPID ACHE (Greybook Press, 2014). Recent poems have appeared in The Fanzine, Cordite Poetry Review, and WUSSY Mag. He lives in North Carolina.


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