the poetry that matters

Joey Elenbaas

Joey Elenbaas is from Michigan. He has been published by Streetcake Magazine.



Things are nice here.  Relatively.  I’m seconded by mysterious objects around me.  Planted palms, iron cages, twisted in anguish, and lush greens complimented by earthy tones.  Reality seems busted up.  All night the chimney flumed serious matters and more than halfheartedly they scream above the number of same objects.

                Terrestrial being.

                The body, I, seems not proportionate to the seclusion surrounding it.  The mind appears active but the Jetstream is unreactive.  To be more forward, I mistake (to whom, God, or Perhaps a Mother, a sweet lullaby that carries me nearly over an undefinable edge) in observation of how we play.  Interact.  In one moment I’m seeing things plainly, in resignation, in the corner, and the next I’m starting at the minor dissociates that leave and hurry away, tumbling towards the unpredictable; all sleeping in warning.

                I’ve decided, plainly, palmed plants and tired stomach and chanted ears that I drift into an area now undefinable.  Groaning, measured hellos and farewells, equally terrible in force in the darker stomach of transmissions and song and dance and rave and lonely beings.

                This damnable dosey-doe and the smart love that entreats it.  Early mornings towards evenings towards an unlighted night.  I’m not sure why all this seems possible.  Now, even now, the heart is still in that same reach of night and proverb, the disco record that spins.  Yes spins.

                I still haven’t forgotten wet air, hair soulless and colorful, not to ours but to His.  Unlike our spaces, it lifts entirely, neither shakes nor shatters against our filmed spaces.  I’m done with etching and eking timed out steps.  Heavy atmosphere, tear dew shortfall brought along, soulless, hairless in screwed semantics of themselves.

                …Echolalia, sleepy weather in a bedroom now, children sleeping in the ether now.  Oh man.  Dosey-Doe!  Who’ that?  Where there?  Heap and glow new, anew.

                I’m clumsy.  Echolalia in transcendent order.  You, to me and you!  Clumsy in life.  Clumsy in the winded brain, clumsily wound and tampered and sketched.  Who cares?  Clumsy toss ups.  Clumsy and clumsier.

                It’s nothing.  St. Patti’s tomorrow.  Sleep.  Sleep.



This disgusting mess.  I was chewing hard lips and beginning to open up a new avenue, a lyrical hubbub without sense of answers or curt point of view.  “Beware of Maya.”  Beware of illusion. 

  I’m mending the anachronism.  This is my present.  The first birds are waking.  What a beautiful mess when you’re tired and strung out from spending time in the atrium of head; they are laughing.  Newborn sounds in the quiet light of morning.   It brings a shade, just a shade of peace in a new day at 5:13, although the hour is weary for me being still colored in by a mean old sweetness.  They may be laughing at me.  Who knows?  They’ve left now and a low hum sits cross-legged in the room.  Cars start, well they try to.  Several groans and then a silence.  The guys been trying for so long to get the thing to turn over.  Months I believe.  Several groans again and then it starts.  Oh well.  His day starts.  I’ve watched and listened to him inadvertently on other mornings like this, me being backwards and himself struggling to get the foot out the door.

  The earliest birds seem so eager in chirp. At least today.  Some mornings they search.  I’ve heard them with a headful of medicine, of fiasco, tired eyed and sipping on whatever else was drummed up, if not one bird, another, a different one would interact and suffice.  One brilliant moment.  Yes, mornings alone in somber soul and sweet refuge, being a small intruder in a world renewing, carrying the pastime of night along into it while some sleep and others wake. ( I am neither, but share the sentiment.)  I tiptoe into a small wonder for that moment, not every moment, but a priceless piece of time when time is a burning wick in a bottomless candle.  Almost like intruding on a foreign celebration, a pastoral solace in waning time.  It was better in the country then here, those moments, less birds and people.  Now, currently, a woeful issue, a pale tiding for a bird in the morning, it then excuses itself in an adamant burst.  The unslaked traffic thirst begins to take up.  Dreamy shoots of unknown exhaust trail from the left side of here, as if my living room wall was adorned with sounds disappearing into the nearest ear.  A little communion has perked up now.  A certain swell; there is the one boastful fellow, a thrush or a finch continuing on loudest in unabashed song.  It might be the same as before.  He croons out “pretty bird”, and for the longest bits of time I’ve tried to find some other way to describe it.  A count? A smart? A little whack on the nose?  Tumultuous pining? Veritable Sing Song? Let’s try elegance!  A vibrant staccato, leaving ample resource for the clear title, and exclaiming in throaty finality: PRETTY BIRD! (Sounds oldie, but what the hoot!)  How thoughtlessly annoying, and the subsequent reprimands for taking the route is exponential.   Right now they are being brats, laughing at me a little.  Very well then….bird….dig your worms, chide long enough and you’ll be buried with ‘em.  Another silence.   Match game point.  (Again, stretch of humor, who threatens birds?)

  This disgusting mess.  Pinches of sky sound, the happy beak do pull.  On birds again. Stupid backwash thoughts.  The volume, however, turns into the normal day and the birds leave for some time, at least in the mind.  Oh man, the mind, or the brain I should say.  What a driving and infuriating subject in a tone of amphetamine.  Fiery network, damage and recovery, signals and mysterious functions which lay hidden for millennia in the depths of a nothing.  The facts are there but I’m in no need or persuasion to list them.  Faculty…the one now is hard on itself.  All of these things explainable with exception:  the mind and soul.  Infinite in measure yet on everyone’s tongue.   Why did I choose such a vague and uncompromising way, I’m dumb as rocks in the first and my soul nearly squeezes out of my nose at the sneeze.  Soul sincere, soul in the unlimited, soul power and soul pop.  Soul divine.  Soul saved. (Adjustment. The soul is paid for, are jokes to be made, and in what degree of vulgarity is the tone fitting?  Does the mention of a soul inherently web the writer, in its slim distinction as the intangible as it is, as a Christian? Is this appeal? It all seems very corny to me.  Perhaps Crystallized only in Redemption.  Sound enough?)  My humor is scorched right now.  Writing presents such a feudal view of humor…things in seriousness read funny to me and the most obvious jokes render themselves as forced.  All other is clever and worth a very special kind of laughter.  However, some of this translates into real life in an unapproachable way, like full tilt on a pinball machine, or a Who says marathon………Long night into morning.   Getting a bit worthless now, but why not, another day.

  I’m not very sure of present things anymore.  There is Death at every doorstep, brought tidily to our rooms to sleep with, to dream of and to fight against, for, and with.  In the meantime, secret harmonies are hung about, little intangible things, or mischiefs? Or scarves like the one yesterday? Tacit traceable tourney twists taking two toes together in time.  See, not very sure. 

  Well I got high for a while, without gripe or cold attitude.  On a day off with a soft pill and a long way far into…I’m not even sure anymore.  Now it’s all over. Nice little venture.  Terrible mess and a vying world.  It’s always heard.  That’s the least right?  In all business of hyperbole and distinctness and uncaring and zealous ambition and the failing of it all towards love and mildness.  It’s heard right?

  A very sad bird now and silence.  Light is lifted from who knows where…the equator always beneath us?  The shallow universe, alone and vast, black

         Atlas in Fear

         Reveals in solitude

          At a tremble the light that keeps his promised place.

   JK.  It’s God.  That’s good enough for me, I guess.  I’ve got to sleep now, or pretend to.  It’s easy to become quiet in a quiet place.  Back to Mommy being home.   My, my, my….how it affects a person.  It’s common though, and that’s also somewhat good enough for me.  She’s hip for an old lady.  Maybe too hip for her own good.  I don’t know what that term means anymore, I just know I’m not it for giving the entitlement.  I always have a hard time finishing things without coarseness or precocity. Eh get it? I’m not sure either, unintentional humor…generally the best.  I guess I should establish some point or moral, though Thought and Critique suggest otherwise.  How funny, the polemic nature of critique through organic composition.  Still counts.

On second thought, I’ll leave you with the brilliance of Allen Ginsberg.  When I try to get too into the depth of a sound or rather the shrunk words littered into voice and meaning, the exactitude of leaving oneself to portray the universal, he usually has some words that satisfies the savaging mind.  From Howl.  “to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head”



Late at night, minutes before midnight; the pinnacle hour of life where envy had toiled tirelessly before, and subsided into sleep.  The very hour, honeysweet in Mellon collie and lost wind chime medleys, the very hour quiet and chaperoning  the cars and people in them to their whims or homes to their pillows.  Comforting breezes methodically stroke genteel the hour of midnight and the moon above is half her splendor, but still watching, aweless, the waning minutes passing into new life.

                I follow the sidewalk, which is white and then made russet by the overhanging streetlamps.  I watch my shadow, an unceasing companion who follows my steps without question; his stature smaller, and being featureless.  I think to myself “He is so empty!” I am sentient and enjoying the soft pulses of night, the amoral atoms of perpetual life meeting and greeting each other so amiably without qualm and seemingly without disturbance, the antidote and antonym to the human weapon.   He is empty and watching and collecting my steps.  I am nearly King, he my unwavering servant of shadow.  I am adorned in everything that is humanly possible.  The celestial realm my crown of perfect diamonds and rich velvet purple.  The wind and scent of spring my impenetrable armor.  No words or Holy conquest can make it stronger.  Isn’t it already apparent?  Haven’t I been dressed all along?  Haven’t I heard the missiles and sharp words daily?  I’ve struck them down.  My weapon is a sword of nothingness, at least for tonight;   all of this for a can of coke and an under-filled bag of Doritos.  My Shadow must think I’m crazy.

                If my shadow could respond I’d ask him three questions.  The first question would be the physical one:  Why are you following me?  How and why are you here?  Please answer in rhetoric.  I remind you, flat shadow, that I am aware of my opaqueness, and in more ways than one, and that my very object in motion disrupts the light upon myself.  You are the answer to my being.  Since he is the quiet type I imagine him agreeing and praising my well thought out question and then subsiding at my heel.  The second would be one of perception.  What is the night to you, mimicking friend?  A darker shade, he would say, of you.  Well of course, I think to myself, how foolish of me to ask.  I will answer for you.  You see not what I see, but only the reflections of what I see, a disrupted version of my current thoughts.  The luminescent lights like lowered stars, creating more of your kind, more inky pantomimes compelled to its object of desire.  You perception is follow through, and a translation of our actions to our very ends.  You are complicit and a second hand impetus.  Your perceptions are my own yet I look to you with questions.  I, despite becoming frustrated given the essence of deadened conversation, ask the third.  Why am I talking to you?  He would become mute and we together would find for a moment some piece of mind.


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                                                                                                                   July 20, 2013