Archive for the Justin Hyde Category

Three Poems by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 28, 2015 by Scot

walking around the farmer’s market with my son

in a black hat
standing on the corner
playing dylan’s
blowin’ in the wind


we forget things

like seeing dylan
in concert
fourteen years ago
at the iowa state fair

whole decades

go fallow
in our back pockets:

eighteenth birthday
alone at midnight
riding your bicycle across town
to the porn shop

carving a woman’s name
into a gazebo
in mount pleasant iowa

my own father and i
taking long walks
from the trailer park
to the a&w
across the highway

we didn’t even
talk really

i’d just hold his hand
trying to mimic
his long stride

like my son

right now.

our next door neighbor at the trailer park

had two cats
and a picture of john denver
on her
living room wall

she was
the only woman
i knew
bigger than my mother

i used to feed her cats
when she went to florida
to visit her mother

when i was older
i mowed her lawn

we moved out of the trailer park
when i was twelve

didn’t see her again
until the night of my wedding reception
at the top of 801 grand

who the fuck-
who the fuck-
is that!
my wife
seethed in my ear
as i dropped
a shot of wild turkey
with my uncle from tennessee

large old woman
straight up
purple moo-moo
and slippers
had just shuffled in
with a walker

after a few
tense interrogatories
with my mother

found out
she made copies of the wedding invitation
and passed them out
to various totems
from my past
my wife
was too gobsmacked
and speechless
to be mad

i thought it was
the greatest stroke of genius
and caprice
i’d ever seen
from my drug addled mother

the dj
only had one
john denver tune

play it twice
i told him

slowly leading debbie
out to the dance floor
by her hand.



another dead indian

was a bike mechanic
at michael’s cyclery.
my first day as an apprentice
he told me about his last job
delivering luxury cars
for john elway’s dealership in colorado.
i could tell he was trying to impress me
so i just nodded and listened.
one of the salesmen walked by:
don’t forget to tell him why you got fired,
he shot in a mocking tone.
chris didn’t tell me
just clammed up
didn’t say anything rest of the day.
found out
he was drunk on the job
drove a brand new cadillac
off the road into a culvert.
this was his song
starting with the army at seventeen.
he’d drink himself out of opportunity
then michael would let him come back and wrench
until he refilled the barometer.
couple weeks after i started
he got on as a cook
at whiskey river.
that didn’t hold.
someone set him up
at the casino on his reservation
picking up trash. a guest
found him out back
sitting against a green power box
bottle between his feet.
michael closed the shop for the day
we all rode our bicycles
fifty miles from ames
to mesquaki
for the funeral.
i didn’t have the word
in my vocabulary at the time.
elders. family. children.
none of us
seemed very sad
or surprised.

absentee ballot by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on October 26, 2014 by Scot

forget disgust

or outrage

i can’t even muster
for politics:

one bruised pecan
in a peanut suit
versus another bruised pecan
in a peanut suit

playground fights
have more nuance
and passion

any actual candidate
with human frailty
and novel ideas

is relegated
to a handful of lawn signs
and ten minute segments
on public radio

the whole process
has been monetized
like a double-cheeseburger

maybe the ghost
of che guevara
will set sail
and land
in baton rouge


i don’t even
have the heart

to finish

this poem.

Three Poems by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on October 5, 2014 by Scot

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.

two guys speaking french at the truck stop by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 24, 2010 by Scot

like i’m at some
paris cafe
out of the
diaries of anais nin
instead of the flying j
in des moines
i have
no clue
what they’re
talking about
but it’s got
mellifluous cadence
warm wax
through deep center
like the wave machine
my last girlfriend
kept in her bedroom.
i could easily
spend the rest of my life
slung low
in a sidewalk cafe
smoking opium laced cigarettes
listening to this language
as the sun
sank below
the arc de triomphe.
but the clock says
my child support payment
of 527.91
is due by
noon tomorrow
and my shift
locked in a pit
with the murderers
and other failed
hustlers of iowa
in exactly
26 minutes.

Two Poems by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on January 10, 2010 by Scot

at the harvest cafe

the twenty year old woman
sitting across from me
is stacking
our plates and silverware.

she does this
every restaurant we go to.

she used to be a waitress
and knows how hard they work.

i wipe syrup
off my fork
ask her
what she wants to do
after we go
to iowa city
for her treatment.

i don’t want
to go,
she says
biting her lower lip

somewhere in her

she’s very tired
this morning
bags under her eyes
but you’d never guess
she’s full of

only me
and a couple of her
close friends at college

won’t tell her family

doesn’t want them
to worry.

lets run away
to jamaica
right now,
she says.

anything you want
i say
holding her hand
under the table.


everyone deserves an ear

if nothing else
their inane chatter
will reinforce
the sanction
and vigor
of your
misanthropic outlook

and on rare occasions

like last night

sneaks out
from the
thin human design:

odell was
telling me
about his second wife

said she
took to crack cocaine
the way
most people take to
food and water.

he tried everything

but couldn’t
reason with her.

the string broke
when he came home
from work
and the refrigerator
and oven
were gone.

all you can do
is smack a bitch,
he told me.

i’m not
a proponent
of violence
against women:

but we clanked beer bottles

and i drank

to the

universal concept.

it’s not that i’m apathetic by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde with tags on November 1, 2009 by Scot

read enough world history
from multiple

on top of that

walk around

pinned open


we’re standing
on a
billion plus




not one drop of

those with the winchesters
call the shots

those with the megaphones
sometimes manage to get hold
of the winchesters.

but all they do is
raise a different