Three Poems by Joanna Fuhrman

by: Joanna Fuhrman

Joanna Fuhrman’s poetry tackles you with a glorious rush of sound and image and offbeat humor. She implores us to please “put down [our] TV-shaped bong [and] try opening that hole in [our] ear,” so that we can hear the strangeness that beats at the heart of our world. 

Joanna Fuhrman


They say inside each bro is a different
identical bro, and inside that bro is the chicken
that laid the egg that started the world,
but dude, where’s your magnetic pocket knife,
your heliotropic brain extensions made
for the afterlife, you know, your poetry?
When will you let your mouth become
the gap between the pizza crust and the cheese,
when will the earth become a ping-pong-ball-
sized pupil bopping past the forest of liquid
gold yolk-filled solo cups and into the firmament?
You may be a bro but that doesn’t mean your
soul can’t leak glitter all over the baseball diamond.
You may be a guy but that doesn’t mean
your liver doesn’t wear a pink feather beret,
that your id isn’t draped in metallic negligee.
If inside each suburb, is an identical suburb
where mcmansions hide teeming cities
within, then when will your living room
explode into grimy, kaleidoscopic subways,
into cracked beakers full of the ashes of
interplanetary love affairs? In Brorealism,
none of us knows shit and that is the shit.
Even if the moonlight is made of cell phone
flashlights, even if the closet full of broken
telescope top hats is covered by a rack of
faded beer-label caps. Even if your vocabulary
is shrinking into atomic sub-particles,
please put down your TV-shaped bong.
Try opening that hole in your ear.



After eating the last piece
of the last potato chip,
Happiness tries on his
wife’s lavender nightgown,
swallows an ice cube and hides
his ego in the cookie jar
with his rage. Souls seep
from the photographs
that stole them and back
into the bodies where they
were born. After eating
the last crumb of the last
potato chip, the world feels
smaller. Ghosts curl under
pillows, fantasize about
the invention of a belt that
won’t fall off. Puffy shadows
trace their edges with Q-tips
damp from tears. After licking
the last piece of salt off
the last potato chip, eyes
butter themselves: smear
vision across time. No more
sunlight on my suntan.
No more wide-mouthed rain.



Susan thought Bobby would fall in love with her
when she wore her tutu decorated with toy tarantulas,
but Bobby was busy sewing a ball gown, the color of music,
hoping that when he wore it Billy would love him.
Billy wore a cape with boxing gloves attached, but
they were too small for his bulbous palms– and he
wasn’t sure who he wanted to punch. Liza said she
wanted to be punched. She was wearing a nightgown
that made her look like a melting snowman and
blue leggings, printed with blood-colored stars.
But who did the fabric love? What about the thread
encircling her pudgy thighs? What color shadow
did her left elbow secretly desire? Who would her
buttons twist for? What shape could dampen those lips?


Joanna Fuhrman’s newest book is The Year of Yellow Butterflies (Hanging Loose Press, 2015). She is the author of 4 other books of poetry, most recently Pageant (Alice James Books, 2009), as well as the chapbook The Emotive Function (Least Weasel Press, 2011). She teaches poetry writing at Rutgers University, through Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and in private workshops in Brooklyn and Manhattan. For the last few years, she has been working on a collaboration with the artist Toni Simon, sections of which can be seen in print in Hanging Loose and online in Talisman, Posit, and Paperbag. For more see:

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