Joseph Lisowski – Three Poems

poet1Joseph Lisowski has taught at several colleges and universities, most notably, Duquesne University, Point Park College, The University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas serves as the setting for his 3 published detective fiction novels), J.Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Elizabeth City State University, and at the Virginia State Penitentiary. Currently, he is a volunteer tutor of writing at Bon Air Juvenile Correction Center in Richmond, VA. Among his many awards and grants, he received the UNC Board of Governors Teacher of the Year award (2013-2014).


I’ve waited too long.
It’s the story of my life, right?
First, the hospital where I was born
an’ my mama left me.
Then that house with no heat
where people always was dyin’–
my grandma, my grandpa, my uncle–
when I hear about my daddy dyin’
I figure that’s it.
So what else I gotta lose?

Back then how could I know
it was only the beginnin’?


What can I say, eh? Guess I’m called
to a life of leisure. I don’t need
a job to make it. I don’t need
them big bucks everybody wants. I don’t need
to feel important ’cause I got more,
got better, got fools noddin’ an’ sayin’
Yeah, he the man. I don’t need much.

I mean how much can you eat?
How much booze can you drink?
How much sex is enough?
Well, there’s love too.
If you got that.
If you only got that . . . .


I got a couple of brothers
I don’t wanna talk about.
They talk ’bout me plenty
not to me, but
they was always gettin’ in trouble
when they was little.

Nothin’ changed much.
But like I said,
I don’t wanna talk about it.
I got sisters too.
An’ then there’s my mother
but that’s another story
I ain’t gonna tell.




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