"The Gifts You Receive from Innocent Bystanders" by Charles Joseph
 

After yesterday's poetry reading 

some guy kindly told me, 

"I love your work Charles

 but I think you should toss 

a few big words into your poems

so that you're more accessible 

to the literati."

 

So I said, "Okay, sure, 

that's a fine idea sir,

but which words 

out of all of the poems

that I read today 

would you change?" 

 

"I don't know," he said. 

 

"Well, neither do I," I said. 

 

Then we looked

at each-other flummoxed

for a little bit 

and parted ways—

 

while the literati 

spit-roasted another poet 

over an open fire 

to protect their

ancient history.

"Blame it on Jacques Cousteau " by Charles Joseph

 

If 

had

quarter

for 

every

poem

I’ve 

read 

this 

year

with 

ten

or

twelve

words

and 

as

many

line 

breaks

I’d 

have 

no 

problem 

sinking 

10,994

meters

down

to 

the 

bottom 

of 

the 

Mariana 

Trench—

 

where 

Jacques 

Cousteau

has 

been 

hiding 

in 

the 

dark 

for 

years

with

an 

electric 

eel 

named

Haiku 

wrapped 

around 

his 

wrist

exploring

mysteries 

much

deeper 

than 

the 

poetry 

he’s 

been 

posting  

on

Instagram.