Two Poems

Joe Hall



or a chasm in each box, a ladder, or if A can read B takes orders, please stop


tear this picturesque ruin down, resurrect it in urine, the circle needed
to nest in the chain loop not opening the chest to swipe for solar life


but inches the whole apparatus forward


hauling stones with brother


dull keys of the weather


arc of the ocean of shine a house for civilizations’
simulation of glare against glass in the oil my hands face


the keystroke’s shape the car door open


as rain is the other road I forgot



like the planet a giant eyeball looking into the lines of space
a dream sticking a square knife in a square head


like forest erosion ten o’clock sunlight


started raining the entity looked the same silver


ennobling lived in honey fog


to the yet unlit air park
raining rivery chatter


is it, or not?



focus focus, an amphibian sits here between things


my heads my hands the great many things
I had line up in a lot with a sycamore fringe


dumb copy dumb dream
materialized and attached to a pole


was a habitual tactic spun on its axis
was a what she is telling the entity in the gallery wilderness


which is the VHS movie club
counting out the register


drive ice roads back to the ‘burbs



but loneliness: tedious gods of the deserts you shit


behind a gun aimed at the sea
a nation of stalks slowly accumulating sparkling masses


lemons’ and lentils’ scent he tells me


he cut in half the windows the skies in St. Louis



of the entity’s cirrhosis of assembled snow of not even work disappears
of sight while you sit at a table write or read


of a causeway extinguished to pay off what it cost


of tomb clock calling for the other from trash light a chord


of let loose without food, rent paid no roof going


of those in the morning and the saints heavy paints consecrate
of a bill converted to faces



into the cataract of secret years


after I dug fingerlings this ceaseless soothing rail pushing muscle


the entity is a dry scraping sound down by the LEDs


heads spoke a language the entity heard
withered words devouring the mouth of meaning


J.X. with the sledge to swing into
the boards we wheeled


into the woods


the strings of an instrument under the river’s wiring


what was bickering what was healing
in the broadcast twilight you never knew was a garden



to view that chaos’ changes arrayed around the code


around this planet under glass like onyx like gold like analogical madness
a street to stroll, slush viewed over something


everything must pass to smooth


everything must pass
surfaces boards fill with didn’t



down on the humid tile clicking grass to grow back


stoked through a vent or slash of football into separate trailers down in the stinking silver


in silence play a game of contact in one kind


of public like all things do if you landed unmoved


you threw the ramp


lines, platforms, streets, stairs, how
we make a wheel that keeps on reading



her son thinks technical school is a joke
so push scissors through my throat


back to bang dirt digging into doubles


wind dwell naked in the morning planet


call it a clog
beautiful rich soil highway sign


and desire for endless combat


were all these paychecks
your dead grade school friend sending you a message


urging you to check out a Best Buy gift card contest?


second shift, Friday night 10:48 PM overflowing the annulus


how it is to wake chewing dirt into love that was once people
and in my heart I feel I am the smell of sulfur


just before you both hanging on a graceful fixture
to this flushing toilet ride a flood


of carrot peels your tongue sails no blossoms


and it means a lot to you—to take a right to tear this project down on the shift


no progress no sleep


feeding books into a machine outcomes
green, green, green!



second shift, Friday night, 10:45 PM worn as if by men


talks to the same house you couldn’t grow


lights green/red in incalculable return


what can we do, stillness, only exhaling
the way following unseen cargo, the entity’s own


deeper mouth brushing familiar blossoms across


my nose in the darkness the room the yawing dullness
from warehouse rafters where we is a collision


to give a very heavy falling
all things do but you keep reading


time will push through the wall the conveyor line


but we will be just a portion
of absence opened to a photograph of rustbelt ruin


the spine I learned history had been
a canopy of petals ending with cancer


the increased resolution of bliss





And vomited and trickled and fungus and building
so turn back


look across the river, the cold bite the thigh


or turn back
to the house is in flames it is in flames


to turn back


to vomited and morning and upstream and built
in waders walk down the honey


massive and labyrinth like water to sand


children birth plastic bag systems
in a melancholy cocoon


a thigh the dream the city that drinks


down an unimaginable blueprint
to powder left on a strip



Diorama seam dust
mold of the leaves, apples of May


working down morning


walking the chatter
the speaker looks bored


because he sees a box the theatre the world


houses huddle eroding stone crossings
Adams St. to eighteen block archive


everywhere everywhere everywhere


dream home fine filaments of suspended roots


kill the connection bailiff
kill the disconnection bailiff


kill kill kill kill kill
friend friend friend friend friend


this wonderful tantrum feeds its enclosure


bridges built enough to become
a bombing of sorts, a parting of ways


a success duly intended



You and snow as if the abridging


between arrangements of houses extinguishes


work falling softly through the trees


as if the two ends could not embrace


on a crate a mattress drains
septic ships breathe algae flowers


so a belt appears around your head
a steel-toed church accordion


men demolish 7th and Bentz


city verticals becoming the epic fountain
all sewers plunge shitlight holidays


is there a room to sift horizontal suns


oyster beds
to hold life in life


an injury to the head


good enough, however able


you see the reason I walk
around this question of fault



Shovels click sine cataclysm water
electrifying the anodized moon


sit on the entities’ thighs
I mean in my dead


houses’ shuffle circles the stars


look up from production


look up: the end


creeping flowing twitching growing
it needs a location


to exercise its math on the blue to red or 48 bus


with who staples roof shingles who sweats DT


aquarium sound silt obscuring the shot
This That and And and And the greatest degradation


from nonpoint sources


is this nice couch and long rectangular windows facing the carnage



As if each path were slenderly opposed


by some wonderful image buried in packing peanuts
stars of color peddling between loaded cars


eat it all


or let me watch
snow across two planets on a fine wire mesh


putting lips to who carries what slips


water or small seed
flushed through the rind of a pumpkin


piss tank dye sinks the morning


frayed like the gloves mom wore
on the manufactory line


against little stones chip chip the laws


of change, the stream a tin thinning
where you walk the gravel loop



I want to tell you about my sentimental dream


of quietly weeping angels
and the sperm of some world devouring machine
where the roof clutches sand


to see the dot matrix end meet the beginning


you have to turn away
the water is deep


in a Baltimore spring’s first flower


petrified to stand and smile for six shifts, ten hours


Joe Hall is the author of three books of poetry: Pigafetta Is My Wife (Black Ocean 2010), The Devotional Poems (Black Ocean 2013), and, in collaboration with Chad Hardy, The Container Store Vols I & II (SpringGun 2012). He currently resides with fellow poet Cheryl Quimba in Buffalo, New York, where Hall is studying commons, excess, waste flows, and poetics.