Three Poems by Justin Hyde

a little truth to tattoo on your wrist for when the water boils

if she leaves you
for another man

it’s not going to be

–because he’s 6’3 instead of 5’8
–swings two handfuls of rope
–has a more poignant physiognomy

–acronyms after his name

–or any other myopic insecurity
conjured by the male mind.

the day she pulls out the scissors
and redacts your world
it’s going to be because

all she ever wanted
was to meet hand in hand
in a field of wildflowers


i just need a little lightness

it feels like i’m always walking on eggshells

she told you
time and again
chance after

but you went ahead and wrung her bone-dry

callused hands

and now she’s out dancing

waist deep

in the wildflowers.

standing in line at the customer service desk of the grocery store to buy a 2 day fishing license

another clerk
opens a window

they split
the line in two

old raw-boned black guy
thin as a broom handle
rolls up
at the back of the second line
leaning on a shopping cart
with one can of soup in it

his turn

calls me over
from the other line
because i’ve been waiting

before i get there
old black guy leans in
says something
to the clerk

i can’t hear
but bundles of white hair
coming out of his nose
are moving fiercely
he points
a finger at her

that gentleman
has been waiting
longer than you,
she says sternly
with a blank face.

i know what this is

i know what you people

is on,
he points his finger again
angrily bumping his shopping cart
into the customer service desk.

i don’t understand
why you’re so upset sir
i was in line before you,
i call out calmly
but firmly.

i know this

i know what

she’s on,
his voice
comes from a place
pushed down
and burning.

let me handle this,
says the off duty cop
stationed behind the
customer service desk.

i mind the law
get my license
and go about my day

he pushes his cart
off to the side
mumbling down
and burn

then he throws
his can of soup
at the clerk


cracks the window
of the manager’s office

and leaves in handcuffs
in the back
of the cop car.


why is that man so angry?

my son
wants to know.

i went to the open mic poetry night in des moines iowa

they came
with their rhymes

pithy rants
societal disses
and playground snaps

they stood there
parroting abstract
bloated commentary

broad sweep
and generalization

all with affectation
and sing-song voices



totally bereft
of soul

there was no blood

no polyps

no bone fragments

no wheeze
and catch of breath
for the reaper’s shadow
standing sentinel

not a one
gambled their heart

they left their
hearts at home
in the bread basket

a hole
where their heart
should be

a stale breeze
through each one

no poets

no poetry

to be found.


9 Responses to “Three Poems by Justin Hyde”

  1. priscampbell Says:

    These are all absolutelu stunning poems!

  2. Doug Draime Says:

    Damn! Now, this is what I’m talking about!

  3. Masterful writing.

  4. My compliments, Justin Hyde, on three strong poems, on their variety, and on your captivating titles.

  5. Justin Hyde Says:

    Thank you for reading these.

    If you are interested, I had a full length book published this year. It is available here:


  6. These are tops – enjoyed immensely.

  7. Ag Synclair Says:

    Spot on, this is..

  8. Great stuff here. Much enjoyed.

  9. James Hyde Says:

    Hey, I’m your cousin. Jim Bob — Call me. 314-2879793

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