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Joshua Martin Jun 2013
The art of the geniuses
is packed like overstuffed crayons
in the alleyways of my city.
That one is picking his nose.
There is the bench-sleeper.
Here comes the nomad with the stroller.
I watch them carefully like
a soldier on an ambush,
bayonet at the ready,
a little drunk on
They approach and I pause.
I put the camera to my face
and press the shutter.
Turning to me their eyes
beam sorrow.
The nose picker slept alone last night,
the nomad is still lost.

In black and white they
will forever navigate the crawl spaces
of my mainframe.
Joshua Martin May 2013
Writing poetry is like
making love to a woman
whose moans awake
sleepers in adjacent rooms.

Each verb thrusts into
the bent-over orifices
of the human heart.

Each line seeks to impregnate
the womb of the receiver.

And after enough time and
attention one will ******.

The question is, will you wear
a ******?
Joshua Martin May 2013
Calling the two blocks
of brick shantys
a “neighborhood”
is like calling Chris Columbus
an entrepreneur.

Columbus had three wooden pontoon boats
& a palace in the new world.
My students have Columbus’ outhouses.

I don’t even enjoy walking through
there anymore. It’s not a stroll in the park.

There’s only so much imperialistic **** you
can step in and wipe away
before you
start to track it in your
This poem and several like it were written as a sort of reflection of my time working in the inner city in Manchester, NH.
Joshua Martin May 2013
Turns out the King of the Projects
couldn’t even tie his shoes.
Couldn’t draw or make love.
Hell could barely even read
and definitely didn’t know how to sing the blues.

Turns out the King got his crown
after two and half games of basketball
on the weedy court at sundown
the day before his tenth birthday.

Turns out the King was the roughest,
toughest, scabbiest fourth grader
in the whole **** grade, raised
from good Somalian stock and
willing to sucker punch kids
darker than he.

Turns out the 4 ft 5 King of the Projects
stood mighty tall over the
class pet ferret, ephemeral
creature of habit,
watched the
rodent with eyes peeled as if the two
shared the same beating
heart boombox.

As it turns out,
every day at noon we had music
but the drums were always
taken by the King who
pounded a steady beat to the
shake shake shake of
the music teacher's 'script
of benzos, eyes still glued
to the ferret, seeking a ritualized dance.

Turns out the class pet escaped last week.

Turns out the King stopped coming too.

Shame really. As the teacher, I felt I had
to have something to say to him.

Turns out I was just as scared as he.
Joshua Martin Apr 2013
When I’m with you it’s
as if Gabriel never fell from the sky.
Or maybe he did and he bypassed hell and
fell straight into the arms
of a miracle.
You make me want to write sentimental poems,
but I like my poems a little ugly,
with the teeth knocked out,
a smidgen of blood on the verse.
And without getting too sentimental
You make me perk up at the sound of your voice.
I swear it keeps me in tune.
It’s as if your voice is a little metronome,
Keeping 4/4 time
And saying dance with me,
-angels keep tempo too.
Joshua Martin Mar 2013
it's 8:00 somewhere in Washington D.C.
and the global selection committee has made its picks:
for the 473rd time
all the number one seeds are filled by countries
that break the most rims and shatter the most glass.
here we have the U.S of the North American region
taking on Haiti, cos the poorest countries
always place no higher than 14.
China of the Asia region has drawn
Israel gets Palestine,
and Italy pulls Ethiopia.
There are no African countries-
they didn't make the tournament this year.
No problem tho,
the selection committee figures
they've been beaten up
too many times
to even make a layup.
Games start tmrw
so grab your favorite basketball merchandise
and keep the channel set.
There will be no upsets
so don't bother
pulling for the underdog.
They've already been
neutered, anyway.
Joshua Martin Mar 2013
Sometimes when I pick up the pen
I feel my 5 ft 7 and ¼ inch frame
perk up like David at the sound
of Goliath's slurs.
I swear i'm 6'6"
and ready to dunk the basketball
straight over Wilt Chambelain's head
made soft by the kisses and “**** yous”
of the 20,000 he probably never called back.
Sometimes when I start to write I believe
that I am invincible like James Cameron's
submersible in Titanic's
C deck sifting through soot and broken china,
floating over smoke stacks and rusted bedposts,
or reaching out my robotic arm to open
up the door to the radio room that once
buzzed with hellogoodbyes.
Sometimes I feel like the soldiers walking
behind that little napalmed angel screaming
down that dirt road in Vietnam,
oblivious to the fire of my words.
Her cries shrink me back down to size.
But most times I feel like I'm hooked
up to a lie detector test in the dank basement of
an FBI facility, blood pressure rising while
the polygraph line traces
the outline of a mountain range
no one has ever hiked.
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