Joseph Farley

Joseph Farley returns to cavalcadeofstars. Have a seat, prop up your feet and enjoy.


in a land where
the holy of holies
is legal tender
in god we trust
to live for
anything else
is blasphemy,
I am a heathen
a heretic
hunted and stoned,
as I walk
through the streets
with empty pockets
and holes in my shoes

chromophil – adj. – staining readily with dye

Phil likes chrome.
It’s his favorite color.
The paint job on a car
means nothing.
It’s the bumpers
and the finishings
of his 1950s
that get the real
polished so bright
his car can be seen
by satellite.

fatling– n. – small animal fattened up for slaughter

Our children are getting fatter.
It has been in all the news.
The general of the armies says
are children have grown too plump
to be fed into the war machine.
They cannot be killed overseas,
so we must bleed them at home.
Sharpen your words for the slaughter,
curse them and beat them for spite.
Give fat children no quarter
for suffering is their birthright.

hamartia – n. a tragic flaw

one loose thread
when pulled
the whole thing:
a sweater,
a tapestry,
a narrative.

A string of words
dangles in the dustbin,
knights and unicorns
cling on for dear life.

jongleur – n. an itinerant medieval minstrel providing entertainment chiefly by song or recitation

juggler of words,
spinner of narrative dishes
on the end of a stick
balanced on the tip of my nose,
come one, come all
and listen to my poetry and prose.
for a half penny I will dance,
for tuppence I’ll do more.
applaud and I will jump
and click my heals
and send more syllables
for you to feel.

krummholz – (noun) stunted forest found in the border between temperate and snow line of a mountain

they have gone
one by one
dropped from the rolls
of the employed
as companies
are downsized
out of existence
department by department.

there are so few of us
left here.
we clutch our paychecks
and run to the bank,
hope there’s enough money
in the business’s account
to cover our week’s wages.

along cottman avenue,
chestnut street,
roosevelt boulevard,
the stores are closing.
one by one they drop,
replaced if at all
by store front churches,
but the newcomers
do not offer
the same services
as the shops
that are lost
to the downturn.

more retailers
have gone under
than small restaurants,
a surprise until you figure
they can eat
their inventory,
and everyone needs
to feed.

i still see customers
in there,
whole families
of weekends.
i guess if you can
only afford one more meal
you might as well
make it take out
or a sit down dinner
for four.

there is always hope.
grandpa still gets
his social security check
as long as we can fake
that he’s alive.
(he says he is,
but we know better).

with incomes combined
the family has enough
to pay the bills for now.
forget christmas
and trips abroad.
lets just get through
this winter.

Waiting In The Maple

In the short red maple
a robin sits and sings.
The nest it built is seen
through naked March branches.
He scans the air waves
for a lover to crash
with him in his twig crib.

He keeps up his brash song
until the green buds open.
His nest in his little tree
remains lonely for him
while the tall oak fills
with apartment chatter
just beyond his domain.

Siddhartha Left His New Born Son

The Buddha taught
by his example
that we must sacrifice
if we would gain
or some sense of bliss.

There is no reward,
no escape from pain,
without causing
someone else to suffer
along the way.

April Larder
in a delicate balance
a spider weaves a web
hovering from a thread
over an open fire
at the camp site
that burns not hot or high enough
to incinerate the arachnid,
but glows with sufficient fury
to lure angry young moths
to doom of one kind or another.

Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory from 1986 to 2010. His books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, Waltz of the Meatballs, and Her Eyes.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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One Response to Joseph Farley

  1. Joseph,

    It was nice to share your work again.

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