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Josh Humphrey Poetry

The Bees, the Rain and the Dark

by Josh Humphrey

My daughters are scared of the bees
            haunt the woodshed,
            float     unpredictable
                       like so much bad luck.
They are my payment for the eighties,
            when we killed the fireflies
            with our baseball bats
            just to see their pure light
                       uncontained neon.
This time is one of murder hornets.
            not one of accidental

I am afraid of the storms,
            how they are
            beyond            words,
            rage like          old Gods,
            how the ferocious rain
                       makes fast rivers
                       in the garage.
The lightning will find the ancient tree
            every time,
            make it dance
                       until it drops.
The soft rain with gentle hands is gone,
            how it never forgot a name
                        or a face.

We are all afraid of the darkness –
            the basement is made
            of scrape and claw,
            murmuring      pipe.
Our old dog sits at the top of the stairs
            head cocked    tail low,
                        but waiting nonetheless.
The deep corners of the yard hold
            that night of    screaming
            when I could not find
            the animal in   the trap.

It is what we get for messy life,
            endless reminder
            that we are      circles
            to close.
A day is long enough to remember twice
            everything you tried
                        to forget.

Newark Danced with Me Tonight

Newark danced with me tonight,
Miles Davis on the radio and I
floated over the Clay Street Bridge,
hit the ramp to 280 and was flying,
adding my lights to the thousand,
trying to put stars in starless sky.

Newark danced with me tonight
and I was safe behind my wheel
because my brother was not
and that is a cost already paid
and I am suddenly 48 and the girls
are no longer girls, but it is okay.

Newark danced with me tonight.
We had Freddie Freeloader on
the radio and we fell into place,
every second window blazing with
life.  The moon behind the church
was every God we needed.

Newark danced with me tonight.
Even though I am still such loosely
contained grief and I count my steps
even and my watch is telling me
to breathe and in the morning I will
have to do this in the awful reverse.

Newark danced with me tonight,
with me in my invisible middle age.
Even gone, Miles Davis played
his golden trumpet empty and I
understood how the world works
for the eternity of exit 13 to exit 5B.


Josh Humphrey’s poetry has appeared in some other places, including Lullwater Review, Paterson Literary Review, Lips, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Soundings East, Naugatuck River Review, Streetlight and Oberon. It is forthcoming in Twin Bill and the Aeolian Harp Anthology. Currently, he works as a Library Director in his hometown of Kearny, New Jersey, a job that inspires much writing. He is a lover of books, records and chocolates.

The Writing Disorder is a quarterly literary journal. We publish exceptional new works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction and art. We also feature interviews with writers and artists, as well as reviews.



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