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#thesideshow May 13th 2016 Four Poems by Joseph Sheehan

Four Poems by Joseph Sheehan/ FIve 2 One Magazine

Four Poems by Joseph Sheehan

A Birthday Poem

These short lines slip through
your fingers into the mouth of a serpent

each word
spreading the present into still frames

our skin fades into
the formstone…

I see nothing
but the halo you reach to caress

where the multitudes
of stillbirths

tangled in their wombs of milk
and the stray eyelashes of God’s seventh law


The foliage sees through you…
a complicated rationalism I can’t help
turning into teardrops rejecting
art for art’s sake.

I can’t watch
these legs wrapped empty
around the manifestos in the title
of her recent book

pressed forward to decreate
he process of decreation

Modernism is Waving

We were born for the city
in a dream of bad teeth…

the dirt  under  our nails

grows round the roses
gives life to new thorns

in a sea of cellar doors
and used condoms

Screen Test #65

I make wishes across midtown,
crosswalk by crosswalk…

I am here to become
a southern blonde

through the altruism
of corroded teeth,

the viper fangs of downtown
etched into polaroids and ballerinas

on angel dust.

Joseph Sheehan is a poet and essayist from Baltimore, Maryland. His first book, New Queer Cinema and Other Poems will be available for wide release later this year.