TWO POEMS – Joey Sheehan

Image: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian – Untitled, 2005-6

Joey Sheehan is a poet and essayist from Baltimore, Maryland. His work has appeared in Alien Mouth, The Avenue Journal, and The Cerurove. His first collection, New Queer Cinema and Other Poems came out locally in 2015. He is a graduate of University of Baltimore’s creative writing MFA program.


An Artist in Exile

I wonder if youd dreamed
the constellation myths that mortals enter into
I don’t believe the holy books that claim
that women are from hell
that show the history of modern warfare
that show the pageantry of men in the skipping
needles of political influence

I see the whole thing simplified
falling from the world
outside my window
the women observe hijab
and there are no seasons here

your hand waves your eyes so obvious now
you see a woman of forty
the sorrow behind her in the filling of light
onto black water you are free to dress
in the siren’s song

I lived with a girl
writing stories and poems songs you whistled
so many cities away from here
the glass refrain of silent strangers
in railway stations
in the pauses before departure
in the Persian hair darkened
from tears in the wheel
of time in the calling of a tune

I know I was not home for you


Roses in the Blood

I stay up late and listen
to the humming of the rails outside
I will reach for you there

in the light
in the labyrinth
in the rape among the stars
the constellations giving us horses to ride
your hair covered
drawn to the full moon

the houses
where the miracles took place.

We are not told what we should be
I told you nothing of the black sea or the poet’s deafness.

There are wide circles in this lyrics history
and I believe in the past when I’m with you

the cross around my neck the koran in my bedroom
the lunch poems in my backpocket on Cathedral Street
the clean landscape of something bigger the reasons you ran
so fast the disconnection we grew up on
the rain that found our tongues
in the darkest alleys

I had to look at you to see myself
to feel like a stranger in my own country now

I havent died yet
the poems here suggest different

I dont know your language anymore
can you forgive me anyway?

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