My Poetry

Fishtown Kids


 Hoochie Coochie Mama
was a neighbor lady
to Jelly Belly Boy.
She tempted him with her sweet
potato pies and tapioca pudding.

Big Daddy died a year ago,
Leaving Hoochie Coochie Mama 
a happy, wealthy widow.

Years ago, when Jelly Belly Boy
didn't have a belly
She would bathe him
when his mother wasn't home. 
She remembered his big brown eyes,
cream colored skin, sitting in her big
white enamel tub.

"Who loves you, Baby?"
was her favorite question to ask.
"You do, Hoochie Coochie Mama!"
"That's right, Baby!
Forever and always."

Hoochie Coochie Mama never did
have any children of her own.
So, she fed the neighbor boy
all his favorite treats.
Kept her eyes peeled on him
and watched him grow.

"Jelly, you’re a man!
Who loves you, Jelly?"
"You do, Hoochie Coochie Mama."

"You got that right, Baby!"

She moved closer, circling him
with her soft arms.

"Honey, I been saving you a hot,
sweet, sticky, sugar bun!"   


I smile a lot
In my fishnets
High heel shoes
Imitating Marilyn Monroe
Shake what I got
Spin around
Touch my toes
Everyone loves the show!

Snatch folded dollars
Even though I want
To scream and holler,
Minutes seem like hours
2:am manager counts out my pay;  
He asks a barfly to drive me home.
I count the stop signs
Till I can be alone.

Every night, I pray
Please, God, help me
Find a new way.


           my father showed up
to take me out
for the day.

At 14,
Riding in his

My father said,
"When you die
You're going to have
a ham bone funeral." 

"What's that, I asked?"

With a grin, he said,
"That's when they stick
a ham bone,
up your ass
and the dogs
drag you away."

Hurt feelings I did not show.

At 45,
riding in my 
father's Cadillac

I said, "So Dad
when you die,
who's going 
to bury you?"

"I'm not going to die, "he replied.

"I guess,
you'll have a
ham bone funeral!"

I savored the startled
look on my father's face.


Lady of magic, Cleo
worked her charms the best!
Talismans and love potions
brought wandering husbands home.

Neighborhood believers
appeared when rent was due
buying lucky numbers
before they laid their bets.

At the drive in movie,
Bev, a class senior, caught 
me kissing her boyfriend 
in the back seat of his Chevy.

Bev swore to even the score,
by cutting off my curls.
Cleo heard me crying,
"Don't  worry, I'll stop her." 

With Bev's class photo,
her name printed in red,
submerged in ice water,
Cleo lit a blue candle chanting,

"In doing this I freeze
Bev's anger and hold it still.
As the mighty oceans flow,
let there be goodwill!"

I smiled to myself
when seeing Bev in school,
knowing that in our freezer
Cleo's magic froze Bev's fury still.
The Messenger 

I thought I'd tap dance down easy street,
after earning a Masters Degree.
Paper the town with my resume;
phone refuses to sing.

Another gloomy day.
My Cheerios float in sour milk;
trudge to the market.

An old lady mumbling to herself
hobbles down the crowded aisle.
She peers up at me, "Honey, reach that box
for me."  Placed it in her cart.

Bought a Lotto ticket from the cashier,
head towards my one room.

Waiting on the corner for the light,
I feel someone stand close to me.

The old lady eyeing me said,
"See the traffic, life is like that,
everything comes everything goes.
You will have challenges all your life!"

What was I to say?  I look away!

Why wasn’t I surprised?
when I turn in her direction
she disappeared from view!

 Pretzel Man By Joan Reese
 "Fresh Pret zel, Get Your Fresh Pret zel
 Punch clock people Rush across cobblestone streets Lined with trolley tracks. 
William Penn perches atop City Hall. Reading want ads on a damp wooden bench.
 Stuffed belongings In mother's "telling" birthday gift two blue suitcases. 
 Left home, never going back! Felt like just another plate At the kitchen table.
 Sofa surfing at seventeen. "Fresh Pret zel, Get Your Fresh Pret zel!" 
 A voice in my ear, The Pretzel Man smiling, "Young Lady you look like you need A fresh pretzel today." He gave me one, Smeared with yellow mustard Just the way I like it. 
"Have a good day," he says. Punch clock people Rush across cobblestone streets 
Lined with trolley tracks. Pretzel Man hawking,
for Goldie by joan Reese

Bubbe, grand-mom of my friend Elayne­,
Was like a Bubbe to me;
She baked wonderful birthday cakes. 

Four layers high, ivory icing,
Dainty red roses, coconut flakes,
A divine cake with a delicious almond taste.

Bubbe, full figured, ­stood five feet high,
Genuine smile adorned her sweet face,
Bubbe’s kindness, sweeter than a lullaby.

My kissed fingertip touched the Mezuzah
Nailed to the frame of Elayne's door.
Who would let me in? Bubbe!

"Happy Birthday,"she sang,
Soft arms wrapped around me.
Never had I been held so close!

My body stiffened  
Lifeless as the silver Madonna
That hung from my neck.

Elayne sang Happy Birthday,
Holding the cake Bubbe had baked,
Tears welled up in my eyes.

Bubbe's words, "Don't forget to make
A special wish, a sweet girl like you,
Your birthday wish will come true.

"Take your cake home!
Before you go to the matinee.
Cut the cake with your family tonight."

Returned home later
To find my birthday cake half eaten,
Without candles or song.

I remembered the warmth of Bubbe's embrace.

King of Glassland
by Joan Reese

Monarch butterflies fly into the eye of a darken cave
In search of light and the Magic King of Glass Land.
The cave is a labyrinth of Reflecting glass walls. 
Look to the East, see your image Young and Beautiful,
Look to the West see your image covered in Gold,
Look tothe South see your image sitting on a King’s Throne,
Look to the North see your image Aged and Wise.

Argo, is the Magic King of Glass Land. 
Wish Seekers hope he will grant them their most desired image.
Most seek eternal Youth and Riches.
Genuflecting, before the mighty King Argo, 
The Wish Seekers request the reflection of their desire. 
King Argo commands a task to be performed. Most fail!
Failure dictates losing everything they hold dear to them.

King Argo demands the Wish Seeker catch a Monarch Butterfly in their
 mouth and swallow it with Honey Wine. 
The successful receive an Iron Hammer by King Argo. 

The Defeated stumble to their homeland.
They bemoan lost of assets they held dear. 
The Defeated look forward to a delicious meal, a soft bed and warm family greeting.
Family and friends look upon the Defeated as a stranger. 
The Defeated spend eternity looking for everything that is truly dear.

A teacher named John Sebastian selected the North Reflection of Wisdom. 
Holding his mouth open wide, brimming with honey wine, 
a Monarch Butterfly flew into his mouth and slid down his throat.

King Argo respectfully handed John Sebastian the iron hammer. 
He did not explain that once the Northern Reflection is smashed, 
John Sebastian’s spirit can travel the world at will sharing wisdom throughout eternity.

John Sebastian smashes the Northern Image into a thousand pieces
Creating a beautiful rainbow in the sky.

For many years, John Sebastian’s favorite place was his home town. 
After witnessing the passing of family and friends, he left to travel far and wide. 
A distant look is always present in his eyes. 
There are not enough hours in the day to solve the world’s problems, but he tries.

Rumors spread across the land that John Sebastian was more than 300 years old.
John Sebastian is unaware of the wish he made so many years ago.


                                                My Mother said before she departed


Red rooster strut your stuff! 
Puff up your chest,
Fill the room with your allure.
Capture an audience with your grace.


All the little chickies gather ‘around, 

Admiring your strong calls, 

Sharp claw feet, 

Beautiful red face, 

Like a stop sign to ward off intruders.

Little chickies now feel safe. 

Are you, are you a red rooster? 

Standing firm in your space,

No one dares to give you chase!


Are you one of the little chickies 

or Red rooster strutting his stuff?

Admiring chickies or strong rooster?

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Who are you?

Please, visit my online gallery.
Original art and photography by Joan Reese - New York City Artist. 
Available on canvas or as metal prints, acrylic prints, framed prints, 
gallery prints and fine art greeting cards. 

vibrant photographs for sale
pretty paintings for sale
nyc photographs for sale

pretty paintings for sale
original artwork for sale
abstract art for sale

vertical image photos hand painted paintings horizontal image photos shadows photos

No comments:

Post a Comment