Archive for the Justin Hyde Category

why do you punch cops? by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 30, 2018 by Scot


i ask
at his parole sign-on

the file
showing assaults
on nine cops
in three states

that stack of paper
don’t say shit
i punch everyone

i punched the teacher
the bully
the bus-driver

i punched the city worker
who tried turning mom’s water off

the dhs worker
who tried taking me away

i punched my uncle
in the back of the head
when he hit mom with a hammer

i punched a dog’s teeth out
when it bit mom on the leg

i punched a whole nativity scene
into dust
in front of a church
when they told mom
quit begging
go get a job

i punched
every single mother-fucker
i had to call dad

all twelve of them

see these hands?


.22 pistol by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 5, 2018 by Scot


still here
in my father’s basement
wrapped in blue rags.


i swear it’s heavier
than a bowling ball.

well oiled
smells like
my grandfather’s hands.

i came for it
in my twenties

the soft spot
of my temple or
down my throat.

my son
upstairs with my father
& mother.

his engine
runs fast
toward the chasms
like me.

i worry

will he unbundle
these blue rags?

will his hands smell
like my grandfather’s

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on December 18, 2017 by Scot

that summer

we’d cut the top off a pop-can

one of us would steal a little gasoline
from our father

out on the west edge of the trailer park
tucked up under the highway overpass
like hobos

we’d drop one of our
g.i. joes in the
gasoline bath with
a lit-match

silent full

swirling the acrid burning fumes
with wooden sticks

squatting there
that last summer before our dicks got hard

women came

simple truth disappeared

& we turned inscrutable

like our fathers.



four years in

i think
you need
a different kind of man,
i told her
as we sat in front of the camp-fire
gin & tonics long

this was
mostly true
& generally desiccated
masquerading as pity

she flung her gin & tonic
in my face

slapped me
off the back
of my chair

i popped up

began vivisecting her
all over
the campground

she got away
long enough to call her parents
two & a half hours away

they showed up
with the sheriff
in & out
like a pogo stick

i fell asleep
on the grass
in front of the camper

a vineyard of
heaven & hell
wrapping my body
like a toga

in the morning
a hundred flowers

began to bloom
& rust.


after defeating hitler by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on December 3, 2017 by Scot

after defeating hitler

the longshoremen
in france
were on strike

army couldn’t ship him
back to the farm
in gorwin iowa

we played baseball
& went to the movies
in paris
for two months

i ask
what else he did
play baseball
& go to the movies

he unfurls
his ninety-five year old
index finger

in the air

dancing it

through continents
like a bull

through the grateful
long-legged women
along the


the older hispanic men by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on September 13, 2017 by Scot


i met
in detasseling fields
& roofing crews

had nothing
or very little

besides aztec grace
& the dignity
of a bald eagle
on their shoulders

something of durango
echoes of pancho villa
in their marrow

men like luis


no pensive

or existential

i stood
in their shade

those lean


2.5 almonds by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on August 1, 2017 by Scot


a drug task-force detective
calls me

right away
I hear in his voice
he still believes in what he’s doing:

‘we’ve been on your parolee
over a month
pulled him over today
2.5 grams of crack cocaine
under the driver’s seat
taking him to polk county jail now’

2.5 grams of crack cocaine
sounds pernicious
like the barrel of a gun
shoved down your throat

but take 2 almonds
bite a 3rd in half
drop them on a kitchen scale

there you go

his wife calls next
crocodile tears?

it’s all a bit shimmery
and quicksilver now

the only ineluctable
is that the bureaucracy has been turned on

he’s on parole
so there will be no bond

he’ll sit in jail for the
next 3-4 months

while the county attorney hangs a
ludicrous sentence
over his head

he will lose his job
his apartment
who knows about the wife

i pull his paper file out of the active queue

walk over to the corner of my office

pull open the metal filing cabinet

and slide it behind the tab marked




a certain kind of pretty blond woman by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on August 1, 2017 by Scot



not an ingénue
or a coquette

a certain kind of pretty blond woman
who doesn’t belong anywhere


less authentic
than an ounce of smoke:

you could tell her, ‘i
like to lick little baby assholes,’
and she wouldn’t hear a word
you said

she’d just nod
and smile

like my waitress tonight
at the local farm to table restaurant

every so often
she does a perfunctory loop
through her L-shaped zone

then disappears
out onto the patio

lights a cigarette
and stares at the sky

as if she’s expecting
a murmuration of starlings
to dip down
and sweep her away.