Words and more words

Joe Bozic lives in Minneapolis.
He is an improv and sketch comedian.
These are some poems.


Carve your name
into the rocks
and leave them
scattered along the paths
for children to find
and put into their collections.


It’s a dream of mine
  you whisper
to be captured in a book
to leave a mark
so deep
on a heart
that a memory
of me
gets translated
into words
and printed
and stuck
on library shelves

(but memories are meant to fade
 and those translated words
 are open to interpretation


The candles had melted down
leaving a mass of wax
pooled on frosting.
The cake sat too long
and there was no breeze
to extinguish
the unattended flame.

The wind was out there
just a few hundred miles away
having already wrestled leaves off the oak
between the house and the street
earlier in the day
when the party guests
were seemingly brought in
by the gusts.


let’s sit
and watch the leaves fall
let’s wait
until they grow back again
you sit there
and I’ll sit here
and our hands will wrinkle together


you ever think
those grizzled detectives
from the fur-collared 1970’s
hard-boiled television shows
kept composition books
for sonnets and limericks
metered out just right
to balance the slaying
of another innocent college
or hep-to-it gas station
I swear I saw one
peeking out
of Karl Malden’s
suit pocket,
a little piece of evidence
that there could still be peace
on the streets
of San Francisco


I spent the afternoon
thinking of cake
aroma from the oven
maybe strawberry
or marble
the frosting
in a little paper container
waiting on the countertop
to be smeared on
or not
(does it matter
when it comes to frosting
as long as the cake
retains its cake shape?)

all to take my mind
off that little fact
that several calendars back
I was nothing
but anxiety and discomfort
and too young to eat


We get so caught up
in the changing leaves
that we miss the lake
growing rough
under an aggressive breeze
pulling winter in from the north,
muted in color from a season
in the sun
now coming down from their masts,
void of flip flops and buckets,
covered by uncollected
sea shells.


There’s water
but no fish
in this tank
just murky water
at a glass case once full of life
now trying so hard
to be a metaphor
- a one-to-one likeness -
of where we are today
or will be soon enough.

(can you see the future
in the haze?
is your fate
as cloudy
as this water?)

There’s still
a small turtle
porcelain and motionless
on a tiny log
on the bottom of the tank
that it’s supposed to mean
something else.


We spent the day
assuming the thoughts
of cartoon characters
printed on undersized t-shirts
were about us.
We spent the night
looking for our stories
in trade paperbacks.
In April
we’ll tally up our experiences
with receipts from donut shops
and revel in our moderation.


Those old cassette tapes
that were played endlessly
looped through our youth
have warped now
those magnetic ribbons
sag over time
and that three-minute
that summed up
the life
that couldn’t be captured
in a year book
now runs a few seconds longer
and sounds a little distorted
and nothing
is as we remember it.


I still consider
that old tin robot
(the one with the light-up eyes)
standing guard
on the mantle
under the pressure
of protecting all life on earth
and the steady barrage
of dust
on its flat tin head,
dust that finds purchase
on every surface
and slightly dimming
those light-up eyes.


The calendar says
we only have a few chances left
to spend our long Thursday afternoons
setting out odds and ends
for strangers and neighbors
to rummage through
and make insulting offers
which of course we’ll accept
because if we wait too long
we’ll be stuck inside
for months and months
surrounded by
tiny little reminders
of those regrets
that we couldn’t sell away.


An old wooden truck
lumbering down old wooden streets
surrounded by
old wooden walls and windows
forever on the precipice of
flammable disaster


do not trust the feral cat
lingering at your ankles
it is longing for something more
than a scratch behind its ears


The radio turns to static
the static turns to silence.
If they made this tunnel
a little bit longer
or we drove
a little bit slower
we would find nirvana.

9/13 - The Suggestion of a Non-Geographic Location

could have guessed
that an old auto repair shop
could be so funny.

But we stripped out the engines,
put in some pens
and a sense of unrequited pride
(with a mimeograph for good measure)
and let the beautiful monsters take center stage
so we could all see
what beautiful monsters we were.


It had to be here
where, from the clouded heavens above,
a hand came down
during the lunch hour
and placed a “vacancy” sign
in the window.

It had to be here
where the panes of glass
were large enough
for even the amateur brick-throwers
to find success
in expressing their opinions.

It had to be here
where doors would open
when they shouldn’t
and wouldn’t
when they should
and even the faulty carpentry
could elicit a laugh.

It had to be here
where the roof let the rain in
on only the sunniest of days.


The building doubled
as a wildlife habitat,
with mid-show appearances
of a mad, confused bat,
high-noon show-downs
between squirrel and man,
the occasional appearance
of a grotesque pelican.


we’ll hand our keys off
to a set of folks
that may not know of
the blood
the tears
the confetti
hidden under the paint
but who will walk through the door
and think “It has to be here.”