Absconding – Joey Gould

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Absconding

When I left my job I folded my apron like always, tucked

into my hat. Six months since the supermarket rows–apples

stacked once twisted & picked–I check into a dive hotel

in Chelsea with a room the size of my body but free apples

at the desk. At the ferry, a storm culls the sky like a produce knife.

Rain, rain, passing front, then stars: belligerent dappling apples,

sparkling cider in dark sky over Governor’s Island, Lady Liberty

bright as a promise. Squint long enough & any tree will bear apples

or maybe they’re given us to sample on arrival at the farm

in the sparsely-paved pinelands, Maine, littered with unheard-of apples,

varieties that drip summer when sliced, cry & bleed sugar—

cold mustering a nor’easter backstage for after apple

season, the pond cool enough to sting skin while dragging

the dock from its posts to the boathouse. Andy takes an apple

but leaves a basket of late peaches. Uncle!

I had lost my admiration for you. I’m sorry, dear apple,

for leaving you in fascist rows, for the poorly-cut quarters

for the bruised side hidden under a PLU sticker. Apple:

I remember being a mouth full child. Let’s get there sweet,

because we’re all going somewhere to be apple-

sauce. To the loud world, its musty-colored figs, riding the long

whalebone skeleton people marry under, apple

orchards when out of season. Gaunt capillary networks

dull white as a Macoun inside, bone-core of an apple

thrown out the car window on I-95, radio blasting Lady Lamb

on a cyser-crisp Sunday, singing: you are the apple.

I’ll carry my past in a tucked-away apron pocket. We all do, we all

secret away what we found: a kiss, a glimpse, an apple.

I’ll never leave the store. Or my heart won’t, that bloated, red

goat. How I run from it. How I should hold it soft like an apple.

Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry who has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. He writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. He’s working on a website: joeygouldpoetry.wordpress.com

You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines

Introducing Joey Gould: The One Time You Take Her to the Lake

It is easy to love one who stares so hard.
She speaks to the breaking water,
eyes ninety degrees away .

You know the vowel structure,
the tongue tuck, the flick of lighters,
the grey solution slowing your veins—

alternately, there grew the lump
in her chest. Then she flew away
from sureness, pale sojourning.

A speedboat’s wake splashes here by a private dock
neither of you owns. Neither of you owns
much. As for any sort of kissing, she
is beautiful but already swimming away
into a blinding sunburn cooked into the pond,
into the flesh-gap between the stories
inked into the skin of her narrow shoulders.
She needs them touched up. She once had

much longer hair, when she forgot
for seven years—consider yourself
also a side-effect of the chemo.
You never learned to swim.

This story poets tell you to read,
it is beautiful & aloof, it runs out
of pages, will not listen to you begging.

Someday you will see her
finally in the ocean, too far away,
too unconcerned with the jagged shore.


Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry, for which he assists the Poetry Festival Planning Committee, leads workshops for Student Day of Poetry events around Massachusetts, writes web articles for MassPoetry.org, & judges slams for Louder Than a Bomb MA. His work has been printed in Paper Nautilus, Drunk Monkeys, The Compassion Anthology, Memoir Mixtapes, & District Lit, amongst others. He has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. Since his first public reading as a fellow of Salem State University’s Summer Poetry Seminar, he has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. In addition to his Mass Poetry work, he has taught workshops for the Salem Poetry Seminar & Salem Lit Fest. He coedits Golden Walkman & writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. Most important, he likes Pusheen & painting his nails.

You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines