Poetry: Selections from Josh Gaydos

before giving in

the canary siding of the cookie cutter house
had turned to pale lemons
picked by platinum blondes with picnic baskets,
they would be discarded post photo-op,
to go from green to yellow
back to green
decomposing under pointed lamppost buzz,
the lit cube could not avoid
vivid awareness of the
four a.m. light blue lunacy,
my stumbling to the back door

I wake up midday
to my sister flickering a trifold
through the window
as she catches the sun in the driveway

I dwell on how
I must be squandering
this hurry to nowhere,
the skyscrape and paydirt circuit
frozen food aisles, the mileage
plastic country crock containers
and the light bulbs
that microwave the butter melt

father had a healthcare mattress
stuffed with dollar bills,
once he took a ricochet from a nail gun
off of a plate bearing
the nail coiled around safety goggles
and dug into the pulse of his right cheek,
but that fiery sting holds nothing
to mother’s begging
to not be here anymore

it was summertime
and the days were drunk like a
windshield wipe

I left strapped in a burgundy seatbelt
matching the cushion,
riddled with burn holes like birdshot,
the sun ate the pavement
through the flatlining states

Governor Foghorn Leghorn
whimpered up and down the leg of
utility men at the dinner table,
his vermouth gullet draining public radio mixers,
his pelican pouch sucking the water supply
from schools off I-95,
his cartoon face stenciled on
with white lightning hair greased

he dabbed his eyes with a silk handkerchief
when I waved goodbye

tap water here tastes the same,
the gravity would pull
wildfire satellites and
igneous meteors from the outer-bounds

I carved their faces in the hills
and I accentuated the scar on his cheek

the envelope, no, the postcard home
would have to not be as cheery as I
really was, perhaps black and white
or a somber painting shrunk

the progress of the west
was huddled under evergreens
with grounded Heinekens catching
the neon of the driftwood motel,
casting the same shadows
as those I had been running from

First Snow ’21

red gummy bear in snow salt
cracked when kicked
on my way to an
open mic in the city

my first time walking there
I saw a naked woman
covered in silver paint
laying on the sidewalk

and just after I passed her
a man in all that he owned
grabbed her collection bucket
and ran,
and she chased him
her bare feet slapping the asphalt

and I watched her run after him
and I thought
should something be done about this?
is this a test from some divine source
that I’ll soon fail, now bound to return
to that test again, in this life
or the next?

how much had she collected in that bucket,
lathering on that silver and laying
with her limbs extended
just past rush hour
on the corner of California street?
would those bills and coins be weighed
against my heart?

she still makes an occasion
of tapping my shoulder,
and when I don’t turn,
whispering in my ear while I’m in meetings
leaving silver chin prints on my blazer,
leaving paint running down my cheek

I’ll see her draped over the corner chair
as I roll my cart to the dryer wall
at the laundromat, eyeing me
and otherwise motionless
as I shove the comforter in

Starlit Sellout

paying the morning
for numbing last night,
a beanie hungover my head
as you redefine your eyelids
in the corner mirror before
getting dressed in some impression
that won’t too entice or offend
with your consumers commuting in
on fiery rail lines, extending the block,
Cleopatra in a parka and the selling of skin,
us against the wilderness,
a billboard against the steel,
you’re a starlet, I’m a sellout,
writing on our warped bed

I’ve eaten our love and turned my stomach
to a dime novel
with the hopes to buy a bronco
and some land,
and you’ve picked up a gig with big pharma
for the parade,
you’re a smiling needle waving to the kids,
I’m a shiny boot street crier
shouting about the percent of the percent
of the percent of our profits backing
some embellished cause,
I’ve learned a dance for the utility men and
you’re starlit, I’m a sellout
writing on this warped bed

Driving Between Jobs

driving the drunken for Sunday’s pocket change without tax, without tithe, I would try
to not live out yesterdays

a light rain came concealed,
wind carried, made without measure,
I’d drink it, microwaved or pressure-cooked,
just the same, self swallowed

hollow how are yous,
I’m the late night captain,
the therapist, the silence,
driving with care
from the airport to Arvada

shaving caused breakouts and Nair
was an unneeded expense, so I wore a hat
and took scissors to my beard

I bowed each morning on carpet stains
in a redefined devotion
I’d abandon by May

without getting out verse
it would appear
upon the metal and rock
sifted through at the bottom
of the gaps I’d vacuum
at the car wash,
burning an hour’s pay

Josh Gaydos (he/him) is a self-taught poet who currently resides in Colorado. He has been published in Barren Magazine, Door Is A Jar Literary Magazine, Roi Fainéant Press, South Broadway Ghost Society, and streetcake magazine.