The Sadness Buried In the Frames of Film Stock


She was a silent film starlet
who always wore
too much pancake makeup
and she was a bit flat chested

but aside from that everyone
really loved her eyes
even in sepia they were
a premium shade of dejected blue.

Sadly, she never made it
into the talkies
so she faded into Technicolor
as a Hollywood hooker

when reefer madness was a hoax
to cover A and H bomb tracks
and people didn’t argue over tits or tats
as long they didn’t give you hepatitis.

Still, she cried many
many times over
the sadness buried
in the frames of film stock

until she choked to death
on a bad slice of American pie
and quickly became
somewhat famous once more.

Because a few people told
her funeral director that he did
a phenomenal job on her
so he snapped her picture

to show her to people
to show them his new discovery
just like all of her directors always did
until they inevitably forgot about her.



Infinitely Humbled by the Sound of Thunder
for Robert Lax


A child’s mind
is a delicate sponge
that drinks it all in

they know this
get wet over this
sink teeth into this

and with little work
and manipulation
a mirror image of hate

will soon take the place
of what was once
a pure blank canvas

and this adulterated flesh
will eventually adulterate
it’s own flesh

to complete a dark
and infinite circle
of demonic stupidity

much less human
than all those they
choose to condemn

and this is how
this world

this is how
this world

this is how
this world

as I sit here
alone and pray
for some sort of unity

infinitely humbled
by the sound
of thunder.



Our Dog Sure is Smart
for Sadie the Pug


Another winter has passed
and she’s deaf now
somewhat blind as well

but the spring has coaxed
the puppy out of her
which is nice to see

but something tells me
she won’t make it
through another summer

and whether that’s true or just
a pack of old hounds from my past
barking away in my head

I’m not wise enough to say
because I’m human and
we tend to think too much.

I just hope the old girl
still has a bit of oomph
left in her paws, that’s all,

because we love her
and it won’t be the same
around here without her.

But right now she’s chewing
on a sneaker, and she doesn’t
appear to be worried

about her eventual visit
to the big red fire hydrant
in the sky at all

which seems like
a pretty amazing trick
for an old dog like her.

I just wish she could
teach it to me

you know, she dies
and I cry over
spilt memories.

But I think even she knows
you can’t teach a trick like that
to middle aged humans

or any humans at all, because
we tend to think to much
when we should be

wiggling around on the floor
chewing on a sneaker
cheating death

instead of wondering
how soon it will
knock at our door.








Charles Joseph lives and writes deep in the heart of New Jersey. Peppered by a battery of life experiences—good, great, bad, and worse—he is the author of NO OUTLET (a novel), a number of poetry chapbooks that have been well received, and Chameleon Omnibus Unum 2012-2016 a collection of poems and stories. His poems, short stories, and creative non-fiction have appeared in various literary journals and online magazines. Visit him at