you are in the diode archives fall 2010



The Afterearth

I fall like yesterday’s laundry
into the perforated life raft, among

the dead starlings, starfish,
brown kelp, cirrhosis. Plato said

Odysseus, in his second life,
will mind his own business.

The ocean like so much parchment,
we’re never our own right size.

We’re left with the murky waves
of brains, skipping through centuries

like a thoroughbred in a glue vat.
Our bad busted pens—their razing.


The purest meeting of cruelty & invention

In the backdrop of horse hooves on stonework

Never forced to turn its gaze inward
          like a well that won’t stop dropping

The knee perpetually genuflected,
          The old tongue’s smoldering books—

Past: extrapolation of nothing

Future: children on boats, cuffed & chained

The human leg does not “L” the chest
          without the rope, the crowd applauding  


Joseph P. Wood is the author of two forthcoming books of poetry, Fold of the Map (Salmon Poetry, Spring 2012) and I & We (CW Books, Fall 2010), as well as five chapbooks of poetry—Gutter Catholic Love Song (Mitzvah Chaps, Winter 2010), A Severing (Cinematheque Press, forthcoming Fall 2010), Urgency (Cannibal Books, Winter 2010), Travel Writing (Scantily Clad Press, 2009), and In What I Have Done & What I Have Failed to Do (Elixir Press, 2006). New poems can be found in Boston Review, BOMB, Hunger Mountain, Hotel Amerika, Poetry London, and Verse, among others.  He teaches at the University of Alabama, co-edits Slash Pine Press, and coordinates the Slash Pine Poetry Festival.