Two Poems

by Tim Staley

tone deaf poem.jpg

I’d Like to Teach the (Tone-Deaf) World to Sing


My dyslexia’s flaring up

Being constantly reminded
of my country’s divides
is not why I have internet

I’m a friend of perforation

She was the first woman to go home unconjugated  
after a conjugal visit

A wet spot on the bed is technically sexy
unless something unsexy spilled
like ammonia or banana juice

Only the luckiest puddles
get to stand up to evaporation

Thank God gunshots carry
otherwise one kind of war
could have snuck up
from the other side of the house

And please do give my regards
to that brutish, hard-working crew
tending the necropolis of our love

Care to crunch the numbers?
½ the world’s an idiot and always will be
½ this house too
it’s the basic action of the universe

Just by breathing
crossroads have you by the throat—
a fly without a wing knows

Raindrops drowsing on purple flowers?!
make it stop!

And it’s true, maybe, I haven’t always been
the greatest at every little thing
according to you
in this one particular life


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Asian/Lower Alabama mix with mothers
whose middle names start with G, L or S

3 minutes before a hurricane

In a satellite launching facility
with the rocket partially visible
through at least one window

Ginger with master’s degree in liberal arts
with one deceased parent and no siblings

In a slowly-filling swamp at dawn

Safe for work in the time of the Buddha

In a sensory deprivation tank in West Texas
during a partial eclipse

Amateur—in spelling only

On a bocce court while old Hungarian men
with names like Kiki talk about their fathers
with names like Pistol who died
unpeacefully in their sleep

In a kayak on a display rack
in Dick’s Sporting Goods
in the imagination of a Gila monster
dressed up as a red blood cell
underwater and surrounded
by sea cows

man camp tim headshot.jpg

Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. He completed a Poetry MFA from New Mexico State University in 2004. He's served as publisher of Grandma Moses Press since 1992. His debut full-length poetry collection is Lost On My Own Street (Pski’s Porch Publishing, 2016). His newest chapbook, The Most Honest Syllable Is Shhh, is forthcoming from Night Ballet Press. He lives with his wife, daughter and two mutts in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His hobbies include thinking, nachos and waiting. Find him online at