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  Jul 2020 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
I’ve grown with little—
primarily attention
until it withered.
An identity dependent
on trends and demographic—
trading vulnerabilities for
Hollywood escapism.

The brighter the light,
the longer the shadow.
Within circle aflame,
reaching towards memory.

Saint Fluoxetine,
deliver me forward.
Allow me happiness.
Reveal to me my foibles
so that I can admire.
  Oct 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
French vanilla Converse,
  taupe-boxed flannel (too big),
and an American Spirit burning,
  real, real slow. What a hipster ****;
what a culture-eating parasite.
  He says, 'Read Proust with me.'
He says something about how
  his dad is dead but not in
a literal sense; metaphorically.
  I was never interested in that part
in the avant-garde spoken poetry Friday nights.

  I bust into the bathroom
and *****, grasping
  Bed Bath and Beyond clearance items.
The walls are the same shade
  of green as my skin.
A hand pets my thigh and I'm told
  it'll all be okay.
How those knuckles knew,
  I'll never know.
  Oct 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
She is attached to the couch
  like a swollen tomatoe;
glued to the TV, supine and subservient.
  Texting while while writing a generic fantasy novel, with the
  televison serving as an audio fireplace,
  she believes she'll be famous despite
lacking concentration, respect, and will.

  O, call to the daycares; a baby is loose --
neck fastened by an electronic noose.
  America come and receive thy child;
harbor a body sheltered from the wild;
  And how could you expect such
sofa fungus to survive? Well,
  first, to save someone else, they
must be alive.
  Oct 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
Your prayers and thoughts
  are not sufficient.
Tweeting and posting self-indulgent
  *******; you are shallow
and your not-so-subtle
  political agenda sickens me.

The President said we should unite,
  despite a year of trying to divide us.
Although, he doesn't need to say much
  because all we've ever masturbated to
is one country for all...
  except for people we don't like.

I am caught in a web where
  each strand is a headline;
where every attempt to be free
  pulls me deeper in; where
the spider is me and you
  and you and me; where
I am eaten by myself.

  I tell myself to not care
-- it never works.
  Sep 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
The yuppies are by the
  Cotto Café, asking those
not to call them hipsters.
  An auburn feminist drinks
Mexican blend, black, while
  reading Margaret Atwood.

I gave up smoking, I say,
  about a month ago.
No one really listens, which
  I sometimes find comforting.

After I walk my isolation off,
  I stumble into a Taco Bell;
one of those hybrids: this time
  KFC. The cashier is curly in the
way that broken legs are curly.
  Her eyes are green but I dare
not objectify her, I hope I don't
  say out loud, because I fear
nothing more than being

Construction loudly stutters
  and cars squeak and shush.
On this griddle of a sidewalk,
  I feel alone. Vehicles vroom
while I stand silent, a monument
  to my generation.
  Sep 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
The cluster of ice in my glass
  looks like a milky fist.
I shake my cup and ask
  about the weather.
He says, 'Hasn't rained in
  one thousand or so years.'
I say how that's unfortunate;
  he says how **** happens.

This party transitions into
  something out of an art-house film;
the Cali-tens are dancing to some
  80's song you would vaguely recognize.
They bump into one another
  like bees in an electric hive.
A Russian drinking a Russian
  asks about drugs.
I say into my drink that I
  don't have that many friends.

Looking for a bathroom,
  I am bumped by hips and lips
into the former eggshell/cigarette stain wall,
where I find my partial reflection
  looking back at me in that familiar
transparent parent way.

I find myself apologizing.
  Aug 2017 TaliaB
Joshua Haines
Bottle of Tums on the end-table
surrounded by an imprisoned fan;
a lava lamp of antacids, cornered by dead precious-metal presidents.
Some greying ceramic **** matriarch
has a bulb sprouting out of her head,
radiating fat yellow on the olive corner, also onto the loveseat.

I say, I should read.
I say, People don't like
  one another, anymore.
She says, I want to be a doctor.
Work with animals, she said,
Help pets and people.

Days go by like the shush
following blurs of traffic.
Am I aging too soon;
Am I important enough
  to care.

Try to sell me some
Pyramid Scheme ****,
the man my age does--
the kid--
He wants sixty-five for
off-brand perfume. No way.
How about, he looks around,
the manager's discount: twenty.
I say no. I'm sorry. I can't help you.
He says no. He's sorry. He can't help himself.

An American filmography:

A Thief in Brooklyn, 1997,
Dirk Diggler Productions,
A 20 y/o man breaks into
apartments, stealing pills
from the elder renters.

Ghost Before Sundown, 2003,
Marythrone Image,
A woman suspects she is
a ghost and tries to come to
terms with never succeeding
in life.
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