Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.


February 2022

between us

photo by anthony tran

there is distance
between us
and no distance
between us
when I see you
and you see me

and there are no words
between us
but there are volumes
between us
when your glance
meets mine

our hearts beat
between us
and breathless
between us
i know you
and you know me

there are feelings
between us
and emptiness
between us
because I don’t know you
and you don’t know me.

there is loveliness
between us
and loneliness
between us
because our love
was only for a moment

copyright 2022, joseph e bird

evening conversation

photo by Gita Krishnamurti

Hey, boy.
I ain’t no boy.

Hey, boy.

Where ya’ goin?
Get some coffee.

Is that all?
It’s all I want.

You sure?
Don’t play with me.

Who says I’m playin?
That’s the problem.

No problem, boy.
I ain’t no boy.

I know that.
You want coffee?

I’m a lady.
Ladies don’t drink coffee?

Chamomile tea.

Can I walk with you?
To get some coffee?

Come on.

And a biscuit.
See. Right there.

That smile.

You’re trouble.
So much trouble.

copyright 2022, joseph e bird

morning conversation

Do not go gentle
that good morning.
Isn’t that supposed
to be good night?
But it’s morning.
And why not
go gentle
that good morning?
The day is coming.
And it has teeth.
Lamb to the slaughter.
That kind of thing.
Be the wolf?
Not the lamb?
Just be ready.
Be on your toes.
I’m not a dancer.
It’s an expression.
But of course you know that.
You’re just being obstinate.
I’m listening to jazz.
I can’t be a wolf while
I’m listening to jazz.
See those gray clouds?
They’re a portend
of things to come.
But it’s warm.
And breezy.
I might just sit
and watch the squirrels.
Don’t say
I didn’t
warn you.
Takuya Kuroda.
I’d rather go gentle
good morning.

copyright 2022, joseph e bird


photo by vadim kaipov

His hair was greasy under his hoodie and his clothes hung loosely from his skinny bones and had he not already shot me in the arm, I would have smacked him in the face and rolled him down the street. But I’m a realist. I didn’t want to get shot again.

“Sorry,” he said. “Tried to miss you.”

At first I didn’t feel much, just a sting, then I smelled the gunshot, kind of a chemically smell. Cordite, I would learn later, the modern replacement for gunpowder and the reason I didn’t see smoke drifting from the barrel of his gun. A 9mm, I guessed, but for all I knew it could have been a 45. I have no idea what those numbers mean. I’ve never owned a gun.

I looked at my arm and saw a hole in my jacket, my favorite jacket, and a growing circle of bright red blood, being pulled by gravity into an ever-lengthening oval.

“Get in the car.”

I heard him say it, a demand, really, and though I knew he might put another bullet in me, I didn’t comply with his wishes. Instead, I sat down on the guardrail and put my head between my knees and tried to fight off the world turning darker than it already was. If I passed out, the second bullet might be in the back of my head.

copyright joseph e bird, 2022


I’ve been writing less these days and playing more music. I’ve been a regular at the open mic night at Coal River Coffee, and though I have no misconceptions about my musical abilities, it’s been a blast performing songs that mean something to me. I never would have done this if not for the encouragement of James Townsend. James is an accomplished singer/songwriter, as you can see if you watch the Press Room Recordings below. He’s also an excellent writer. He’s writing a serial story about Billy the Kid and is currently writing a musical on the same subject.

Of the songs in the Press Room Recordings, my current favorite (my favorites change frequently) is Wars and Rumors.


Blog at

Up ↑