Three Poems – Joanna C. Valente

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Only Assholes Live in Brooklyn

We look at photographs	of French bulldogs
b/c we are bored &	  it is midnight	   &	we don't cry when we're sad.

I’m here to make you lonely
in the drain of my shower	a child’s heart
is clogged	       like a bad decision          	I swallow it.

Water drifts		    my pubic hairs in a crooked line	
                      each hair will be shaved
never to know yr name   	      yr body will do 
most of the work.



The End of the Universe Is An Empty Gin Bottle

all animals but one
closeted in black holes
across space; before living
I was we, canoeing 
around the rings of Saturn
then fell into

life to rise out atoms 
ripped apart one-by-one;
summon your body of 
performance.



If Your Body Is a Church, What Is Its God?

S told me, there are far 
worse things. Something above me
rises like a tunnel over me, hot
but not sweaty, wasn’t taught lessons,
felt enormous, my throat closes. 
I said nothing. One of us felt
grateful. Maybe my body is broken. 
I say, show me. There is a hole now
instead of anything else. I’m not sure
if I am in this hole. I ask S if he dug
this hole and he doesn’t answer. His jaw
is small like an ant. His shoulders dig
and dig and dig. He says something 
about a home. It’s the only thing
I understand. Our bodies are turning
into holes. I believe the holes are 
forever. What is forever? Forever
is the church my parents took me 
to as a child and I’d stare at the giant
portrait of Jesus, until his eyes
became tunnels became holes 
until I believed in some kind of forever
but there wasn’t my consent. One
definition of forever 

is for all future
time but I don’t know what 
the future is. I store forever outside
of my body, outside of my hole
and S told me about that time
he painted houses with his hands
and he said, they were different hands
then and now they’re holes that go on
forever like the paint and all the paintings
and it was a kind of heaven
that I only made once. I could feel
his fingers around my neck, inside 
my skull, something bleeding out
of me like paint. And he could make it
hundreds and hundreds of times. 


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About Joanna C. Valente

Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (forthcoming 2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (forthcoming 2017, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, The Atlas Review, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She has lead workshops at Brooklyn Poets. View all posts by Joanna C. Valente

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