- Poetry, Reading, Writing

Three Poems, by John Reed


All I really want to do is stab people.
Once, I got a chance to do it.
But the guy kept trying to get away,
and I’d stab him where he was moving.
He’d reach out a hand, a foot, I’d stab it.
After a while, he moved less often,
so I stabbed him a few times in the back.
I talked a little about the woman,
but I wasted the opportunity.
It’s just an accident to hack, hack, hack.
To stab, stab, stab is intentional, will.
Resort to speculation is a shame,
but the point, I’d suppose, is intention.



She says she thought about me this AM.
That would have been right when I was thinking
about how sick I am of this project.
How maybe all I need is a helper
to light it on fire, “the perfect plan.”
Every computer, every location,
every page, every last person;
every article and accoutrement
of history, character, or attire:
burn it all. Every single thing gets wicked.
Each one of these thousand sources. Spare nix.
And burn the witnesses, and the witnesses
to the witnesses, greasy as lambs—
so the fire spits and zings in innocence.



I was just minding my own business,
just sitting around, all by myself,
waiting for something shitty to happen,
when you showed up again, waving, waving
your long arm and buttered toast fingertips,
and asking if I miss you, which I do,
which I do, which I do, which I do,
and then you left, again, teeth without lips.
Come over here, my doe-eyed once darling,
and kiss me when you do that. Kiss me when
you kick the bread crumbs and the pigeons laugh,
when you toss out your hands and make the sun.
You, I do. Under your sky, I do.

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John Reed is the author of A Still Small Voice, The Whole, Snowball's Chance, All the World's a Grave: A New Play by William Shakespeare, Tales of Woe, and Free Boat: Collected Lies and Love Poems. His writing also appears in Artnet, Tin House, Artforum, Hyperallergic, Bomb Magazine, Art in America, The Believer, The Paris Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, and elsewhere. He teaches at The New School University and The New York Arts Program.

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