JOMAR DANIEL ISIP
Played it like a player, suave, surefooted, sure could have, should have
maybe said a little less. Hell. All that matters is you got
what you got, what you wanted. Sure.
What you want? An assurance, insurance
he’s who he said, who you said he was, who you said he
could be, should be, maybe. We all have needs. Go get you yours. Hell
It’s rigged, the game, the goddamn game. Hate the player and the game!
Go get you your friends, the ones who knew better, knew
they couldn’t stop you. We got needs. Sure.
All that matters, they tell you to take care
of you, let yourself feel and forgive yourself, forget about
Hell. There you go. Suave, surefooted, sure should have listened to us
Next time and next time and next time. Knock knock. This bitch.
A Fool According to His Folly
JOMAR DANIEL ISIP
New rule: Never bring up Star Wars with grown men.
Know better. Disengage. Embrace the shame,
the mud, the pig is enjoying it. She’s a Mary Sue,
and look at you: Is not! Is too!
New rule: Never introduce your crush to your lover.
If either gets jealous, or both, you win. Except
when you don’t. Know better. Out of your hand,
birds of a feather, back to the bush.
New rule: It’s never only one episode of Schitt’s Creek.
Sun setting. They’re very short. Rationalize
sun rising, the dogs have circled the door twice,
a thing begun—they couldn’t hold it—half done.
New rule: She’s only saying she wants your advice.
Rationalize this time, in spite of instinct, she won’t root,
scratch, dig up grubs. And look! The last, or next-to-last
pearl is rolling in the slop. Is not! Is too.
JOMAR DANIEL ISIP
When the steeple finally gave, a thought, she is too far gone
Notre Dame might come down whole, the flames glowing
from within the cathedral, a demon heart pulsing under
her gothic glory crumbling into ash. You send the picture.
We are twentyish, poor, sure. Paris our backdrop. Sure, we argued
every friendship has some friction. Besides, remember tripping
on the steps in front of all the saints and tourists, laughing,
the exquisite satisfaction of having arrived? We did it. We did.
Before barren streets, a Parisian baritone from his balcony
accepts the applause of neighbors, enchanted, bored, trapped
trying to remember if song, spontaneous music happened
in moments just months ago, the antebellum fading.
We are fortyish, comfortable, not. A pandemic. We haven’t talked,
not that we could. I moved, maybe on. You divorced. Jeff
was there with us. Said the pigeons had lice, wanted to see
the catacombs. We missed them. It was disappointing. All of it.
My fourth-grade teacher gave me A Tale of Two Cities, struck,
I think, by my loneliness, a boy cutting animals out of magazines,
talking to no one in particular. I dreamed of France. We went,
as friends. For our own good, we must cut out every animal.
John L. Stanizzi is author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits – Fifty 50-Word Pieces, Chants. and Sundowning. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Blue Mountain Review, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Poetlore, Paterson Literary Review, and many others. A former New England Poet of the year, Stanizzi has been translated into Italian and his work has appeared in many journals in Italy. Stanizzi teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.