Two Poems by Joe Balaz

Carcass in the Fields
The visual sermon went over everyone’s head.

Futility walked around in full daylight
holding a lamp and searched everywhere.
The only honest man in the village
ran and hid so he wouldn’t be found.

Concealment in this case was appropriate.
No need to consummate the quest of a sage
who filled his life with almost nothing.

A porous heart bled the intention
of that hidden man who was dressed in black.
Accustomed to burying philosophy
in the context of a final truth,
one could mistake him for a priest,
if he were not the undertaker.

Diogenes seeked some kind of answer
looking for honesty among humanity.
It must have been his mongrel spirit that moved him.
He stared into an empty bowl,
as a canine chorus whimpered and howled
to the minimal light of a shrouded moon.

Not that it even matters,
for any insight that ever was,
will always yield to a carcass in the fields.

Roadside Turnoff
A voodoo blast
slammed into the eardrums like a cyclone,
whipping and swirling paisley winds,
as the ghost of Jimi Hendrix exhaled.

Complimenting the psychedelic music,
a painting by Hieronymus Bosch hung up on the wall.
The Garden of Earthy Delights with a soundtrack.
I wondered who came up with the synergy.

At a roadside turnoff,
bikers and barflies
filled the watering hole next to a gas station.

Outside tumbleweeds rambled
into the far reaches of the desert,
like the slurred stories within,
from some of the patrons
hollowed out like dying cactus trees.

There was sand in my shoes,
but clarity in my head.
I just stopped to ask for directions.

The bartender laughed,
and cherry topped his answer
with a smirk,
even though it was a common cliché—

Just keep driving east
on the highway,” he said.
Until you reach somewhere.

About the Poet
Joe Balaz lives in Ohio.  His poems have appeared in Pittsburgh Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, and Hawai’i Review, among others. He edited Ho’omanoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature.