Poetry: Selections from Joe Haward


She strains her body
Every sinew searching the extremities
Physical form challenging unknown possibilities
Mental capacity teetering on the edge of darkness.
Her image mocks
Cruel laughter
Refrained praise
A reflection of what she will never be.
She glides across the stage
Fouett├ęs on pointe
The audience gasp
The curtain falls
Applause fading into the whispers of the night
Her breath caught in regret
Sweat falling where tears fear to tread.
Alone again
The chasm of perfection threatens to swallow her
Excoriating mouths haunting
Distorted icons of castigation hovering.
Her body bends
Fluidity and motion harmoniously bound together
Impressions of ease masking the war within.
The crowd craves her
Ballet masters critique her
Family love her
The compulsion of id drives her.
Final notes of music echo off the walls
Reverberation from wood and satin humming across the floor
Silence meeting her in fevered rest.
Maybe tomorrow.


Dissolved beneath noxious platitudes, each
one served like fetid gruel. “Eat up!”
the masters of civility chime,
Shards of pain mimic sunlight through window’s pane,
shattering medicinal veil, a reminder of all that is
“Smile, it could be worse!”
Society’s theater raises the curtain, so take a bow before
your jaded crowd. The show must go on/on
and on it goes, agony’s switch

Last Orders

It’s been ten years,
seventy three days
and too many fucking hours
since I had a drink.
Shot. Chaser. Kill me.
Do you miss it?
I’ve always found it easy to lie.
Are you drunk again?
Ring me tomorrow?
Do you love me?
Sobriety wouldn’t be a problem
if the world wasn’t so banal.
Influencers influencing insipid interests,
wishing I could watch society
through hazy eyes.
Temptation burns to slither into paradisiacal secrets,
it will do me good.
Trust me,
my truth is 40% proof.
I’ll sleep the boredom off,
opioids and streaming
numbing culture’s hangover.
Fuck me,
I need a drink.

Joe Haward is the author of two nonfiction books that explore the intersection between humanity, faith, film, and culture. As a horror writer, poet, freelance journalist, and book reviewer, his work has appeared, and is upcoming across multiple sites, in various anthologies and publications, including Byline Times, Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Ghost Orchid Press, Horror Oasis, Cosmic Horror Monthly, and Outcast Press