Poems & Joette

by Sam Pink

PANCAKES


I have begun

enjoying pancakes again

after long associating them

with periods of bad funds.

It's not their fault

that they—

like I—

exist simply, cost effectively, and tastily.

The truth smacks

like a thorn-covered hand

sometimes.

While sometimes

blowing kisses

behind your back.





RA-RA


Many laughed

in agreement

with 6-year-old Ra-Ra's assessment

that my coworker's breath

'be smelling like some cheese

from out the trash.'





INFINITE, ETERNAL, AND ALL-POWERFUL


I stopped mid-stride

in the kitchen

eyeing a pan

and thought, 'is he...is he gonna do it?' (make an omelet)

and then made an omelet.

And yeah

this poem is about

'nothing.'

It's about something 'mundane' and 'everyday.'

Except it's not

because it involves me.

And I am infinite, eternal, and all-powerful.

contained by nothing

and extending to the hearts of all breathing creatures.

A butterfly wearing a football helmet.

I'm gonna get you.

I've been ready forever, or

for sure for the last five minutes or so.





TWO MODES


Looking at life

like the last ten minutes

of a sleepover

where you try to make it seem

like you were never there

or

like an apartment

on the last night of a lease

where you're definitely not

getting the security deposit back.





WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU


I'm a pinchy grandma.

Or a soul-stealing

hitman from hell.

Who the fuck are you.





THE WOMEN AT THE GROCERY STORE


The women at the grocery store

who work the cash registers

all have short, feathered haircuts

and thicker Chicago accents than anyone in Chicago.

In general, they stand around whichever one lane is open

ignoring you

while talking about your purchases

as they come down the conveyor.

The women at the grocery store are an important part of my life right now.

Yes, now, and for the foreseeable future.





+





JOETTE


I carried two armloads of cardboarded and taped books into the post office and dropped them on the counter.

The old clerk walked up slowly, smiling and muttering 'oh jeez' as her bangs blew a little.

'What's up, how you doing,' I said smiling.

'Why don't you hyave a hyat on,' she said, toneless and slow, kind of smiling.

We stood there in quiet as she tapped a computer screen with arthritic hands and put stickers on my packages.

'This darn ting,' she said, tapping and tapping.

'What's it doing,' I said.

She mentioned my address. 'Isn't dat...wasn't dat fire dair.'

We talked about the building in my area of apartment buildings, that burnt down right before I moved into town.

A man coming home early from work had seen the building on fire and evacuated everyone.

'Tank god he was dair,' said the clerk, her wispy bangs bouncing as she blinked.

Another customer came in, old woman, who basically dropped herself onto the counter—purse and keys crashing.

She remained, staring down.

'How's it going, Joette,' said the clerk, in a soft singsong.

'Vuhhhhh,' said Joette, with a deeply toned sound, like a vacuum that wasn't gonna start.

'Yeah,' said the clerk.

'Yeah,' I said.

We were all quiet for a moment.

'Vuhhhhh,' said Joette again.

Then she looked up from the counter in a weird lean.

'You got inny stamps, hun,' she said.

Her voice so deep it rattled my balls.

Joette.

My ball-rattling queen.

The clerk showed her the available stamps and Joette, well, she found one so 'absolutely gorchiss' she picked it right away.

Yes it was clear that none other would do.

'Do you mind if I?' she said to me, pointing towards the clerk.

'Yeah, go ahead,' I said.

And the clerk rang Joette up on the other register.

And Joette left.

Sam Pink had to do it to them.

Artwork: "A Perfectly Lined Up Attitude" by Sam Pink