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3d · 23
I try to play the game; I aim high,
shoot for the stars, target joy, and then look -
all my shots, they end up going wide
or they just end up in my foot.
My system is broken; my roots are dead and they are rotten.
I should just kick dust in my worn out boots,
and please, god, let me be forgotten.
I am the clouds, and I'm the rain.
I'm a wasted hollow heart covered in snow.
I sow and I reap nothing but pain.
I'm toxic. I'm toxic, I know.
I don't like me!
How could you like me?
I hate me!
How in the hell could you ever love me?
I'm so much confetti fresh from the shredder,
made only to be thrown away.
Ignored by those celebrating something better,
something that makes them smile as long as they're not looking my way.
"Just take a deep breath," they said,
"just hold up your head. You're not dead yet, and that's something to be thankful for."
I disagree. The only thing I can think is that when I'm dead, at least I won't hurt anymore.
I won't hurt. I won't break hearts. I won't lie. I won't hurt.
My parents, my peers, my kids, and my self
will all be free from my lack of worth.
It's easier to believe someone was likeable when they're stuffed inside an urn.
I want to die, but I can't take my own life.
So I want to be happy. They tell me to get there or die trying.
But if I can't get to happy, then I think I'll try dying.
Sep 7 · 22
Joe Workman Sep 7
Unbroken silence
the only answer I need -
goodbye, my old friend.
Sep 6 · 18
Going on
Joe Workman Sep 6
When you first walked away,
I was so sure I would die.
But I made it through the days,
and then, all alone, through the nights.
And now, as time goes on,
I find I smile more and more.
Yes, you are long gone.
But I'm never locking my door.

Oh, I know that I can go on
without you,
and I know that I can breathe in peace,
and I see that I can think
not about you.
It's just more fun with you here with me.
My days are no longer gray
like I was used to.
The clouds have all left; the sky is blue.
Oh, I know that I can go on
without you,
but it's just not what I want to do.

I still hear your laughter.
I still see your face everywhere.
And so, what comes after,
now that I'm just half of a pair?
I guess I will soldier on,
horizons before and behind.
And then when sets the sun,
I'll hold onto hope because I find

Oh, I know I can go on
without you,
and I know that I can breathe in peace,
and I see that I can think
not about you.
It's just more fun with you here with me.
My days are no longer gray
like I was used to.
The clouds have all left; the sky is blue.
Oh, I know I can go on
without you,
but it's just not what I want to do.

You left a mark
on my lonely heart,
a deep notch that no scotch could fill.
I know that in time
I will be fine.
From dawn to dawn, I'll go on, I will.

I know I can go on
without you,
but it's just not what I want to do.
Sep 3 · 34
In progress
Joe Workman Sep 3
I love wrong.
I do a lot of things wrong,
but love should not be one.
I want to be worthy of you,
and I know I won't be until


All this time,
I've accepted you
and wanted you to be
just the way you are.

And now I apologize because
I have not offered you the space to be
just the way you are.

You are not me.
I am not entitled to your time.
You do not owe me attention,
but I have pressed.

You do not love the way I love,
and that is good.
You love in your way.

I have been selfish and insecure
and needy and demanding and impatient and I'm sorry.

I want you to love me, yes.
But more, I want to love me.
If I do not love me,
I cannot love right.

I do a lot of things wrong,
but love will not be one.
Sep 3 · 12
Can't both be right
Joe Workman Sep 3
I am halved
in matters concerning you.
     Part of me
     knows the odds.
          This part knows
          I am a weak man,
          full of cowardice,
          and I will never
          actually try for you.
          My words are only words.
     Part of me
     refuses to accept this.
          This part clings foolishly
          to hope,
          to the unrealistic idea
          that I will ever hold your hand
          while watching the sunset
          from the patio of our own home.
It seems the right brain part has finally
outmaneuvered its other
by letting it run free.

I never wanted to burden you
with my baggage.
I never wanted to add to the tumult
of your life.
I only ever wanted to offer positivity,
light and love.

What came out was
clinginess, a whining neediness,
oppressive attention.

I am sorry
I am sorry.
Sep 2 · 108
Which am i
Joe Workman Sep 2
And now what?
(now nothing)
unhappy with being only unhappy,
will you not stop
until you are completely miserable?
(i do not deserve happiness)
Will you continue until
nothing is good and
your company is avoided?
(i do not deserve goodness or friends)
Why do you so strangely insist
on thwarting contentment?
(i do not deserve to be unbroken)
Why will you not love you?
(i am unlovable)
But we care, we do care.
(then you are wrong)
We want to see you smile.
(only poison comes from my mouth)
We want to see you happy.
(you are not listening)
Aug 31 · 35
I do not like it here
Joe Workman Aug 31
I do not like it here

It is too quiet and I think
It is too quiet and I think

I do not like it here

It is too gray without your smile
It is too dreary without your eyes

I am not happy here

This is too far from you
This is too far from your fingers

I am not happy here

This is too far to drive in an open hour
This is too far to tunnel to you in secret

I do not love you

Because you are silver light in an orchard
Because you are whiskey to a drunk

I do not love you

Because you are stillness in a storm
Because you are whispered reassurance

I love you

Because my heart tells me to love you
Because my heart tells me to love you

I love you

Because loving you is right
Because loving you is all I can do
Aug 31 · 28
through the midnight
Joe Workman Aug 31
You're coming closer, almost creeping.
Such sultry motion, I'm barely breathing.
Watching you watching my reaction -
entranced, you vision, there is no distraction.
Zipper down, strap falls off your shoulder,
showing the tattoo I'll bite as you get bolder.

With candles alight
and our bodies burning, too,
we move on, through the midnight -
discover me, discover you.
Small firelight dances
as we lock into a groove.
The river of passion advances,
and hungry eyes say you approve.

The sheets are twisted, then they're gone.
Our hearts beating rhythm to our song.
Panting, daring, your wildness is contagious.
At once, our hands are timid and courageous.
Sheens of sweat and bathed in glory,
let there be no ending to this story.

Lost, I'm lost, I'm lost in you.
Falling and falling, I've fallen for you.
Aug 18 · 30
Anywhere with you
Joe Workman Aug 18
Places I never wanted to see
Until you were at those places -
They are now all I want to see so long as
You will be there.
Over bridges, across canyons,
Under mountains, in abandoned
Railway stations, or
Here - never leaving if you are here.
Expecting to see you, I expect to love
All the places I will go.
Defeated when you are not there;
Orange crayon sun of my days
Never duller than without you.
My eyes crave
Your form.
Surely, as time goes, I will find you.
Hasten the day, hasten the day!
Or come looking for me, and
Under the blankets waits our breakfast -
Legs and legs, mouth and mouth, and then
Dessert follows for our unfilled hearts.
Elated, our hunger at last
Joe Workman Aug 17
Welcome to my epilogue.
It's almost finished,
and I thank you for your attention so far.
I know it's been difficult at times to
watch this mess I am,
this mess I've made of myself,
so I thank you for your patience so far.
I hope you've been adequately entertained;
I hope you've smiled with me some.
That is, I hope you've smiled genuinely.
You see, mine has always been an act.
The burden of keeping it up has
become too great and I am weary.
The curtain is closing.
This is nothing
for you to be sad about.
Some of us don't have it in us
to attain peace, to obtain a true smile.
That's okay, though, isn't it?
Life isn't for everyone and
no one knows what's next, if anything,
so don't be sad.
It just is what it is.
We just are until we aren't.
I now better understand that
careless creature.
So, ladies and gentlemen and otherwise,
drive safely, tip the bartender well,
and live until you can't.
Aug 15 · 172
then and then
Joe Workman Aug 15
your eyes and their laughter lines,
   your hair and your slender frame,
      your bare feet and clean teeth,
         the warmth from our shared time.
the miracles made into memories,
   the wonders into wishes,
      the triumphs into tragedies,
         your patience with my pretending.
untouched i long to be untethered,
   but too long in the mire to change.
      how long will you wait
         for my hands to be your hands?
a song in a dream and awake we're apart,
   my fear my fault and my freedom my fear.
      you may not want me anymore,
         for i am used and ragged.
Jul 3 · 34
soft, a ghost
Joe Workman Jul 3
in underwater memories
i see you floating
frustratingly close to me
and blurry,
your fingers reaching but
never finding purchase to pull me in.
i think that you aren't trying.
a tug of the current
and i'm away.
no more you,
no death or desire,
it's empty here
and i like empty.
Joe Workman Jul 2
I want to mount you
on the wall to shut you up.
You keep me awake.
Joe Workman Jun 30
I'm afraid I see what's happened.
You've been so long on your own
that when you saw me
you were overwhelmed with
nostalgia or comfortability or
whatever made you want me
at the start.
It's been a week since we shared
words I thought I'd never hear you say to me;
time enough for you to scratch the itch
created by your enduring loneliness.
It would've been great, but a terrible idea, to have felt that scratch.
It would have been awful, but a delicious time, to have felt again
your nails and your teeth,
your hair, your feet.
But we were all talk,
which is better.
I think I see what's happened.
While it's unfortunate, and I'm sad about it,
it's not unexpected and I'm accustomed to it.
Jun 28 · 263
Alabama, California
Joe Workman Jun 28
An Alabama boy wanted to
go and see the world.
He found himself in California
going stupid for a girl.
She was lightning, she was sunshine,
she was more than flesh and blood.
He wanted her to notice him
and he did all he could.
But he was shackled by the vows he'd made
to the one from home
and they had kids together;
he couldn't leave them all alone.

A monster's life,
his world of lies,
and he'd give up every part
for a chance to break
the liar's chains
he's wrapped around his heart.

He finally got the girl's attention
and they became good friends.
Sharing laughter, telling stories,
he wished those nights would never end.
The laughs turned into ***,
and then the *** turned into love.
He was standing on a cliff
and he was waiting for a shove;
He knew he'd not the courage
to jump all on his own
and he'd started to regret
all the nakedness he'd shown.

The coward's wise;
the coward tries
to protect every heart
from the pain he'd cause
by blasting off
and making a new start.

In his mind,
in another time,
he stands for truth
and he walks the line.
A broken bird,
his heart's in thirds.
Up on the roof,
his final words:

"This Alabama boy got to
love and lose the world.
Stupid, ******* stupid boy,
that California girl
was an angel, was a tempest,
and now she's in your blood."
He took himself right to the edge
and said goodnight for good.

The monster's gone,
the coward's home
in his dry release.
There are no tears
for unlived years.
He's finally at peace.
Jun 28 · 27
Another turn off
Joe Workman Jun 28
I'm moving and terrified.
We haven't spoken and you don't know
what I'm keeping.
I told you I needed to clear my head,
regroup, getoveryou,
and I'd give you some space until then.
That space has turned into a
Unsurprisingly, you invaded my dream again today.
A daydream, which started as innocent musing on what I would do if I had any money, ended in emptiness over your absence.
I can never remember exactly
what brings you to mind,
but I think
it's everything.
Joe Workman Oct 2018
All my dreams are tortures,
showing me glimpses
of fragmented hopes come true:
a look, a touch, a smile -
all dashed upon waking.
Though they're the only ones
I can ever remember,
they're the only ones I wish I never had.
I used to dream of running from monsters,
or of flying,
or of breathing underwater.
These have been replaced
by hauntings of my fondest desires
and memories of too-short eternities
spent in her arms and in her eyes.
If there is a world
for every possible outcome
of every possible situation,
then there is a world where
she and I are each other's and happy.
My cowardice prevents me from trying to make this world that one.
Even so, it's all I really want.
Joe Workman Oct 2018
It was a late afternoon
on Venice Beach this time.
There was a storm
preparing to batter the sand
and drive the sun-lovers home.

A Dickensian ghost,
I watched as you and I
attempted to talk over the winds.

The only thing I heard was that
you love me, a thing
you've never said to me
while I'm awake.

The breakers and the wind and the gulls
drowned out all the rest,
but my heart was finally content.
Sep 2018 · 236
Dreaming again
Joe Workman Sep 2018
I dreamed again
and you were there,
the dark silk of your crown
tousled from sleep,
standing in the open doorway
of a house in the middle of
a beautiful and wasted land
and leaning against the frame,
waiting for me to come back
from wherever I had been.
You smiled at my approach
and pulled me in.
I placed my hands at
the small of your back
and woke up
and now I'm sad.
Jul 2017 · 2.1k
Joe Workman Jul 2017
I could write you more, you know.
And I would, but it feels wrong to.
I could call you, too, but again...
Look, I love you, okay, and
there's no way around that,
no hiding from it.
I know that in this life
we can't be a thing.
That really makes me want the next life,
but I'm also scared there won't be one.
It's a ******* mess, really.
I'm a ******* mess.
I don't let you see it, though;
I pretend I'm good at being friends.
Have I fooled you?
No, of course not.
I am thankful, though, that you
don't rub it in.
You are kind.
You are a rarity.
And so I pine, don't I?
Spending so much time wishing while
spending so much time afraid of that wish coming true.
Reality is the biggest letdown and
I know that I am a close second to it.
And if you ever read this, isn't it attractive to see such a ****** man, complaining about things he could change but won't?
I hate this more than a lot of things:
my unwillingness to do what's best for me at the expense of others.
This isn't pretty or poetry,
but it's honest, and I wish you knew I write here.
Apr 2017 · 1.2k
Fever, fear, and farewell
Joe Workman Apr 2017
We rode into the morning
and challenged the sun,
all boiling blood and fevered skin
and silence.

We were afraid to be proud of us.
We were afraid to hurt our others.
We were so afraid to live
regretting our prudence.

It's different now, though;
we're different now
and I am not better.
I'm not so good these days.
I think of you often.

Our hands were magnets
and our bodies iron.
We were young.
We have grown, but
I think we'd still fit into that dream.
We'd fit rather well.

I haven't broken my promise,
But I don't believe
I'll be able to fulfill it.
You're a wonder when you aren't
being held back,
and I am a little proud that
I am not that hindrance.
Feb 2017 · 233
It's me
Joe Workman Feb 2017
On a street lined with trees
  I feel my brain's been impaled,
  and all of my dreams
are cold and dead as old nails.
But through all the pain,
  through the whispering loss,
  I'm alive, but I'm stained
like some man on a cross.
I just want to see -
  for a second or a year -
  if there's a chance I could be
  better than who is here,
  looking back through the glass,
  encouraging sadness,
  living in the past
  and drowning in the madness
  that comes with realizing
he's the mistake.
Feb 2017 · 987
Stupid breeze
Joe Workman Feb 2017
There was a light,
shining on the ground,
just up the road a piece,
but there was a tree
a little bit closer.
The tree moved
so that I thought
someone was walking to me
and I was thrilled
and irritated
and I smiled because
I wouldn't be alone.
I didn't want to be alone,
but a person would
want to talk.
I didn't want to be alone -
I wanted to be  left alone.
I needed another sobbing heart,
a different unnecessary mind,
to be there,
but only to be there.
There's a medicine in
just being with a person,
and I smiled.
Irritated, I smiled,
but there was no one;
no one was walking
toward me or away.
So I thumbed my nose
and spat at the breeze
for having let myself be fooled.
Jan 2017 · 158
Joe Workman Jan 2017
A broken down,
soft-spoken bird -
never a smile.
Never a word.
***** to the wall
then a sudden reverse,
not near enough change
left in the purse.
Stuck on that
stage in life
where everything's cursed,
but still hoping for good
while expecting the worst.

His mind is brittle,
his heart is in shreds,
not a sliver of solace
in bottles or beds.
After each night
he wakes up, he dreads
that he didn't die
in his sleep instead.
Cuts himself
deeply, but
the wounds have never bled;
all the damage he deals
is to his own head.
Nov 2016 · 248
Here in This November
Joe Workman Nov 2016
What I want next month
is to smell you and pine
and all the spices of midwinter,
together in my memory's favorite mix.
What I dream of having
is your voice
telling me that I am not
that I will not be lost to you.
But most of a decade
I've spent with that longing -
every year, every month, every hour -
and I no longer believe in
I personally tailor my weekday
mind for work,
but my weekend mind is left
to less reputable,
outside alterations
and they work well enough
until the next distraction.
I am unrecoverable,
immutable, even stubbornly so
because who really wants
to be fixed?
"Not I," said the cat,
"for I was born to
chase the flyers and
mark the world as mine."
Aug 2016 · 622
Dragging on
Joe Workman Aug 2016
slowly are the days
   and one
      and one
so slowly and with no more fanfare.

     a dream
rogue and rotten
and immovable.

the days bleed
     one into the next
          and on
               until time is not.
     unworthy beginnings
   painted a needed
          unreal ending.

blasphemous the nights

where hands held
     hair and hips.

the loss
grievous and expected.
Jun 2016 · 316
What do you see?
Joe Workman Jun 2016
Belated but sincere,
   that's me to a T -
almost enough,
   but it was too late,
   just another dose of slightly less
   than effective misery.
Your eyes and your ears
   see and hear differently
   than most of the others who
   have spent time with me.
Don't you have anything
   better to do
   than hold on to a hopeless man
   who's in love with you?
May 2016 · 226
at a loss for words
Joe Workman May 2016
there is a bracelet
on a wrist
and that bracelet
is painted with words:
those words are slowly disappearing,
fading into the black on which
they're written.
i go with those words
and i'm scared about
what will happen when they're gone.
Apr 2016 · 238
Long, lost
Joe Workman Apr 2016
I'm tired.
It's been a long day,
   a long year,
   a long life,
and I'm tired.
The babies cry,
and they're irrational,
so I can provide no comfort.
It hurts when they cry and I can't help.
I never feel like I can help.
I can't sleep, either, but that's not on them.
No, honestly, I could sleep.
I love to sleep.
I'm more concerned, though,

I don't know where my time goes,
or why I hate all my time.
Mar 2016 · 193
Honestly Tipsy
Joe Workman Mar 2016
Here I sit,
    beside myself
    in mild intoxication,
offering my
    mind to you.
    Please trust inebriation.
I've never
    been too clever
    with the way I let things out,
but this my soul
    demands you know:
    there is no running count
of all the varied,
    things that make me yours,
of the winds
    that tie my hands
    and leave me on your shores.
I can't accept
    that you and I
    were never meant to be.
There has to be
    some hidden joy
    that's just for us to see.
Nov 2015 · 227
Joe Workman Nov 2015
The problem
       as I see it
is that I've covered you
in my wishes,
leaving little room
       for imagining what
       would be.

I've ignored your faults.
I've blotted out your blemishes
in my mind.
I've created an
       unrealistic movie
in which we never fight
and we're attractive when
we sleep.

That's not how it would be,
       my world,
that's not how it would be.

You have never heard my
but I extend an apology anyway
       it isn't fair
for me
to resent what you are not.

I have spent a lot of time
with myself and
       I have learned
I don't like what I've pictured.
I prefer
       something real,

where we do fight
(and make up),
and we have to change the pillowcases with some regularity.

I don't want my dreams,
my dream;
       I want only you.
Joe Workman Aug 2015
You, born of angels and happiness
and other unreal things,
are like an
imperfectly played chord;
I've seen your flaws,
I've felt your flaws,
I've heard them,
But you're still known.
You don't smell like heaven after a run,
but the taste of you...
Lady, that is something that
never changed and never should.
Your flavor,
to me,
is like that one scent
everyone knows:
the one that stirs the memory
but is always just out of reach
of sufficient description.
The one that violently
tugs your heart back to a
memory that only leaves you with a vague sense of the whatifs.
You are my whatif,
and I'm sorry I couldn't dedicate.
Jun 2015 · 709
From this prison
Joe Workman Jun 2015
i'd say there are no
suicide victims, there are
only escapees.
Jun 2015 · 338
Joe Workman Jun 2015
the wild emptiness
beckons with open arms and
a dangerous smile.
Apr 2015 · 357
Joe Workman Apr 2015
If I were to open my mouth
right now
and begin to tell you
what goes on behind my face
when I think of you,
the words would never end.
So, I have been
uncharacteristically quiet,
which is strange because
I only want to talk to you.

I want to tell you
how kind you are,
how beautiful and true,
how entangled you have
become with my heart;

to hold your hand to my chest
and let you feel all my reason

to shut out the murmurs of a
disapproving world
simply by seeing you smile
     (your smile is worth more than the world).

If when the keeper of
my hourglass watches
my last grain fall and tells
the Oldest Mother
to open the door
and prepare my mud-bed,

I still haven't held you,
I still haven't seen you,
I still haven't even heard you again,

I still will call myself
most favored of all
because I'll know

I knew you once
when we were young
and full of dreams.
Joe Workman Mar 2015
carry me home, just once more.
tomorrow i'll be better, okay?
tomorrow i'll stop
and i won't need your help,
but tonight, i can barely --
well, i can't, okay? i can't walk,
i can't even think,
but i'm sorry for this.
i'm sorry for you.
to you, i mean.
i'm embarrassing you, aren't i?
am i talking too loud again?
don't wake people up. they don't like that,
i remember that much.
can you tell me a song?
sing me one, i mean.
or a story.
no, tell me a story, will you?
you tell great stories.
how about that one where the guy
who hates himself finally figures out that
the reason he hates himself is because . . .
crap, what was the reason?
oh, well.
never mind.
the why isn't the important part.
hey, why aren't the whys important?
where are my keys?
can you open the door?
my sock is wrinkled in my shoe.
i'm a mess, but i'll be better tomorrow.
after sleep. after tonight, okay?
i just need sleep. a lot of it.
maybe i can --
hey, can you hand me that bottle of aspirin?
it's in the drawer. that one.
other bottle of aspirin, it's stronger.
i'm not though, huh?
strong, i mean.
it's just for . . . it's so i don't hangover.
get one, i mean. thanks.
only, like, twelve. that's all that was in there.
i'll be okay. tomorrow.
no more help. no more . . .
okay, it wasn't aspirin, but
i'm tired is all. is a little fuzzed.
am, i mean.
you can go.
don't freak out. just bed, okay? i'm going --
hey, thanks for everything.
you know, i always --
no, i'll tell you tomorrow,
when i'm over.
there's already a note.
it's mail.
it's a letter in your mail, i mean.
those'll be the last words,
not these, so don't remember these, okay?
i fell tired.
feel, i mean.
but i'm sorry. i am sorry.
i can't -- don't forget the letter, okay?
it should get you soon.
to you, i mean.
i'm, um, hey, i think that's it.
that's all i can do, i'm going.
Jan 2015 · 234
I was going to
Joe Workman Jan 2015
I was going to draw you once,
   but I didn't have a goddess-colored
   pencil and the paper wasn't deep
   enough for your eyes.
I was going to sing for you once,
   but my voice can't make the sound
   of a heart on fire or of a secret smile
   that never falters.
I was going to write to you once,
   but the ink was not rich enough for
   your name and adding glitter seemed
   a silly thing to do.
I danced with you once,
   and on that short and endless night
   I discovered that my hands could trace
   your lines as I swam in your eyes.
   I found that the perfect song is the
   whisper of your skin against mine
   set to our mixed and quickened
   I learned that ink and glitter still have no
   place in how I show you my love.
Jan 2015 · 300
my secret sunshine
Joe Workman Jan 2015
i carry the memory of
     your laughter

in a vault in my heart.
     and when
i am found low and

the day is gray,
i bring it out,
     and listen,

and call the sun.
Oct 2014 · 249
a stranger kind of blue
Joe Workman Oct 2014
when i see me in the mirror,
my face is blue,
not blue like any music or
                  blue with the depth of the ocean,
    but blue,
like the sky,

like the sky because it's open,
                  blank sometimes,
                  black sometimes,
                  sometimes full of wet.
it cannot be rightly read;
it is not perfectly predictable.
     what is beyond the blue is unknown,
uncontainable and unobtainable,
it is, it . . .
and i don't know how to change it
     or if i want to.
Sep 2014 · 451
I do love you, though.
Joe Workman Sep 2014
It's not the best way to say it,
    just the easiest way,
so I won't say it. I'll do that for you.

I'll say instead that
    you are the music that plays
    in the background
        of all famously filmed kisses,
    unnoticed by most, but required
        and significant.

I'll say instead that
    you are the movement of
    a child chasing a sparrow
        through a meadow,
    glorious goal never minding
       the lack of grace.

I'll say instead, my girl, that
    you are the words
    that all the poets had in mind
        when they set out,
    with quills for swords,
        to slay the denial of beauty.
Sep 2014 · 248
or whatever
Joe Workman Sep 2014
Hey, you. I thought of you today. It made me smile. I found myself remembering some of the things we did, or said, or whatever. I miss that stuff, you know? LOL.  It was like we didn't care about time, or circumstances, or whatever, we just WERE, you know? And I miss it, to be honest. Sure, I left because I thought you were lazy, or unmotivated, or whatever, but you were a good person. And I hope you still are, haha. I can't imagine that something I did would ever change who you were, or are, or whatever. Anyways... just thought I'd drop you a line to make sure you haven't, you know, moved on, or forgotten about me, or whatever. LOL. Anyways, come by my work sometime and say hi! Yeah, I'm still at that coffee shop, but I'm a shift manager now! Can you believe how fast time goes? I've only been here three years! Soooo, come see me, ok? Maybe I can get you a free doughnut, or frap, or whatever.
Sep 2014 · 403
In a moment
Joe Workman Sep 2014
in a moment?
you lazy *******,
what's wrong with now?
now is what matters
     not just to you,
     not just to me,
     but to everyone,
whether they know it or not.
now is all we have.
tomorrow isn't a thing yet and
      yesterday is dead.
don't talk to me about
      in a moment;
my heart might not be beating
      in a moment.
(say it one more time, and)
your heart might not be beating
      in a moment.
Aug 2014 · 6.4k
in everything
Joe Workman Aug 2014
The radio alarm is a bit too strong
for his afternoon hangover taste.
He goes downstairs, sets the coffee to brewing,
rubs his hands through the hair on his face.
As he sits and he smokes, he can't quite think of the joke
she once told him about wooden eyes.

The coffee is ready, his hands are unsteady
as he pours his first cup of cure.
He tries to be happy he woke up today,
but whether being awake's good, he's not sure.
Outside it's raining, but he's gallantly straining
to keep his head and his spirits held high.

As soft as the flower bending out in its shower,
fiercer than hornets defending their hives,
the memories of sharing her secrets and sheets
run him through like sharp rusty knives.
He decides that his cup isn't quite strong enough,
takes the ***** from the shelf, gives a sigh.

He goes to the porch to put words to the torch
he still carries and knows whiskey just fuels.
Thunder puts a voice to his hammering heart.
Through ink, his knotted mind unspools,
writing of butterflies and of how his love lies
cocooned under unreachable skies.

From teardrops to streams to winter moonbeams
to a peach, firm and sweet, in the spring,
he writes of pilgrims and language and soft dew-damp grass
and how he sees her in everything.
He rambles and grieves, and he just can't believe
how much he has bottled inside.

He writes how the leaves, when they whisper in the breeze,
bring to mind her warm breath in his mouth,
how when walking through woods he loves the birdsong
when they fly back in the summer from the south
because she would sing too and he always knew
he wanted that sound in his ears when he died.

He writes even the streetlights, fluorescent and bright,
make him miss the diamond chips in her eyes,
how the fountain in the park plays watersongs in the dark
when he goes to make wishes on pennies
and while he's there he gets hoping
there will be some spare wishes
but so far there haven't been any.

He writes that the cold makes him think of the old
hotel where they spent most of a week,
lazing and gazing quite lovingly,
and how he brushed an eyelash off her cheek.
The crickets and frogs and all of the dogs
sound as mournful as he feels each night.

He writes about chocolate and fun in arcades,
he writes about stairwells and butchers' blades,
and closed-casket funerals, and Christmas parades,
then sad flightless birds and tiny brigades
of ants taking crumbs from the toast he had made,
and political goons with their soulless tirades,
old-timey duels and terrible grades,
strangers on  buses, harp music, maids,
the weird afterimages when all the light fades,
the pleasure of dinnertime serenades,
sidewalk chalk, wine, and hand grenades.

He writes of how much fun it would be to fly,
and saltwater taffy and ferryboat rides,

sitting on couches, scratched CD's
pets gone too soon and overdraft fees,

the beach, the lake, the mountains, the fog,
David Bowie's funny, ill-smelling bog,

jewelry, perfume, sushi, and swans,
the smell of the pavement when the rain's come and gone,

and shots and opera, and Oprah and ***,
and tiny bikinis with yellow dots,

stained glass lamps, and gum and stamps,
her dancing shoes on wheelchair ramps,
that overstrange feeling of déjà vu,
filet mignon and cordon bleu,

bad haircuts at county fairs,
honey and clover, stockmarket shares,
the comfort of nestling in overstuffed chairs,
and her poking fun at the clothes that he wears,
and giraffes and hippos and polar bears,
cumbersome car consoles, monsters' lairs,
singing in public and ignoring the stares,
botching it badly while making éclairs,
misspelled tattoos, socks not in pairs,
people who take something that isn't theirs,
the future of man, and man's future cares,

why people so frequently lie
and bury themselves so deep in the mire
of monetary profits when money won't buy
a single next second because time's not for hire,
and that he sees her in everything.

Then unexpectedly, unbidden from where it was hidden
comes the punchline to the joke she had told him.
He laughs -- it's too much and his heart finally tears
as a blackness rolls in to enfold him.
The last thing he hears is birdsong in his ears --
the sound brings hope and is sweet as he dies.
Feb 2014 · 725
Oh, you careless creature!
Joe Workman Feb 2014
Press the button
silence the noise that woke you
draw a breath
think on things soon forgotten
wait to hear the door close
know that you're alone
reach under your pillow
retrieve what disturbed your sleep
what will soon end your nightmare
say a silent prayer
hope that God is there
that he will forgive this
draw a breath
silence the noise in your head
press -
Feb 2014 · 562
All the right things?
Joe Workman Feb 2014
High SAT scores: √
Academic scholarship to
   an ivy league school: √
Top-of-the-class graduation: √
Job: √
Wife: √ √
Dog: √
Tasteful Victorian in the 'burbs: √
Kids: √
Adventure, sense of purpose, happiness:  . . .
Feb 2014 · 882
if in your later years
Joe Workman Feb 2014
If in your later years
you forget having held me
while I lay helpless and screaming
in your arms, or
the summers you spent
sitting on a hot bench in the sun
watching my left field aerobics,
I will still remember.
If in your later years
you forget my first Christmas,
or my first date,
or my first name,
I will still remember that
you are why I had them.
If in your later years
you forget your favorite book,
I will read it to you and we can
discover its joys together,
as you did for me so many years ago.
But if in your later years,
you forget the times
I chose my friends over you,
or screamed at you,
or was ungrateful,
or made you feel invisible,
small, and unwanted,
for that I will be thankful,
because I love you, Mom,
and that's all there is to it.
Jan 2014 · 369
under the tree
Joe Workman Jan 2014
Try to focus
     on us, lady;
time's been slipping
     sideways, crazy.
It's been too long
     now since your head
graced the pillow
     on my old bed.
It waits for you.
     So I wait, too,
under the tree.
     You remember,
don't you, darling,
     the willow tree
where you and I
     learned how to fly?
Fly back to me,
     and bring your song.
Jan 2014 · 342
walk to me again
Joe Workman Jan 2014
walk to me again. walk in the way you once walked:
      smiling and freely to the tree where

                  we found love.

talk to me again, talk and
      let my already smiling heart smile more,
   living in you.
dance with me again. dance and sing;
                  your twirling and gorgeous lines
   steal my breath and your sound is
                  what makes me brave.
absorb me again:
                  nothing knows my body the way you do:
       neither the deepest pain nor the
                  purest joy nor myself can claim they know me;
   only you.

                  There is only ever you and your ocean eyes.
Jan 2014 · 1.1k
once upon a saturday
Joe Workman Jan 2014
i visited you on a Saturday
and not
       even i suspected my intentions.
you wore a blue sundress
that afternoon,
and we stepped into the shade
of a weeping willow.

we laid and talked,
                    only talked and held hands.
after a while we walked back to
  where you sleep
                    and  talked again.
we talked and then
my love for you grew
  as a young man's love will naturally grow
when he is in the arms of his love,
  when he is in the arms of love.
                   we kissed
and such a sweetness i found!

a sweetness as only young ones know when
  tasting love for the first time came from
                     your mouth!
my God! your mouth...

and then we fell,
                     both of us this time,
  fell into something we did not understand,

                     but knew just the same!
we had been waiting,
                     one for the other...
to be complete
  we gave in to what we could only feel.

nothing we could see or had heard of could have

                     helped us learn this bravery
  against youth.

and so we fell,      
                     blindly, expectantly,
knowing only that
  my shadow, my highest,
                     my heartbeat

would always be yours:
  my first, my all-time, my yellow;
                     walk with me again...

— The End —