That Boy Named Filthy


You were a princess on an empty road leading nowhere. Worn out from ways of the world, you remained on the side of the highway, waiting at a deserted bus stop. Birds whistled whispered words of encouragement.

I pulled aside.

Alone in the shade; parentheses around your name:


You wore the moon in your eyes and had the key to every man’s heart dangling from your neck, opening whichever one, whenever you pleased.

We went back to my concrete fortress where grandma waited.

Grandma: old, cranky, all she cooked was green beans and potatoes. Zephyr kissed her when she was 18 and she gave birth to my father nine months later.

Grandma’s ways drove us away. Cages and curfews led to your whisper in my ear, “Take me away.” We sat on magic carpets riding them all the way to Paradise.

Autumn leaves fell like bodies from the deteriorating empire. Paradise was cruel. The only way back was amid camel humps since there were no more magic carpet rides left on my Metrocard.

A hippie approached us and threw up a peace sign. I lifted my arm and shot him with my finger, BANG!

A poem shot out-


at the

ballroom as soon as

the clock tocks ten.

Sunbeams burn

bottles, firewood

catches Phoenix’s flames burning


I haven’t seen

my lizard in days.

His coconut has been

e m p t y.

Crickets still chirp. Is

he dead?

The hippie laughed and spoke a Smetana symphony. Strings played and woodwinds exited his mouth. Chiseling sculptures with his sounds.

We situated our masks on our faces and began our dance. You were the phantom and I was the adopted sun of the moon, whispering invisible ideas into your ear. You took off your clothes and the hippie shot the moon out of your eyes. I punched him in the face. His nose bled tie-dye. We wielded weapons and killed peace together.

I wept and felt the cold kiss of Winter on my cheek. My life was e m p t y without your presence. The hole in your head put a hole in my heart.

But you visited me in my dreams.

I asked all the magic mirrors on the wall, the voodoo witches, crystal balls how to get to you. So I put coins on my eyelids, slit my wrist, paid the ferryman, sailed the Styx just to get to you.

And I found you picking pilgrims in Persephone’s garden.


1 Comment

Filed under Joe

One response to “That Boy Named Filthy

  1. Christina

    This is such an incredible piece of writing. I don’t even know if I should call it poetry or short fiction. It blurs the lines between the two beautifully, and is such an evocative and brilliant piece. It almost reminds me of a mixture between F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce, in the sense that all its lines are amazing even if they don’t make explicit sense.

    The last line is faint-worthy.

    Absolutely brilliant!

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