I FORGOT TO GO BACK
by Jason Joyce

French Peroxide

Bottom of my belly, a mortar, 
dusty past lives, lukewarm  
remnants, passed-over, synthetic  
sandwich pestilence  

But bottom lines say take the  
destruction slow, balance 
the budget, create, destroy. 

Rebuild. 

Poured passion, continental divide, 
moored methodically by a plaster of  
peanut butter, her jetty, toast crumbs 
in the bed we now share  

We assume each  
mental institution behind thick trees  
wrought with ghosts,  
while checking our newsfeeds we miss clues,  
obvious subway entrance-sized proof  
in the middle of the forest. 

You can’t take it with you. 

A vision of me drunk, stoking the  
campfire outside some summer  
lodge, our rehearsal party, 
2 A.M., sloppily trying to toss logs, 
slumped in a chair, your patience,  
friends slumped in solitude, blissful abandon,  
this new adventure. 

Fearful of denting self-worshiping  
celestial virgins’ bright eyes,  
who don’t understand the allusion- 
with age, we end with less. 

Stoned in L.A., I passed out before your call,  
the thought: one of us will get the family bible,  
woke me up. You  
caught a metal sliver from a fire escape, tipsy in NYC; 
on the French peroxide bottle you translated aloud: Please recycle,  
we’ve got each other is all. 


I Forgot to Go Back 

I forgot to go 
back to the scrum of 
settling 

A violent, sneezy feeling, 
pent up | My uncle knew a guy with   
a mental tick, overheard him say it felt  
like he could never get a body-wash-slime  
feeling to leave his skin 

Found home in a suitcase, bars of soap, 
tiny devotionals,  
the patron saint of elsewhere 

A humidity sticking t-shirt,  
swimmer’s shoulder, restless when it 
comes calling at night- 
tiny taps on my steel water bottle, a soft 
creak by the front door 

Fit to fight a strong current, forget to go back | 

You feel it pull too as 
we move toward the door, you 
can’t take it with you | 

Some nights my head is a monster 
truck rally  

Scavenger Hunt


A vulture atop the past I’ve outgrown,
chanced a tumble but chose to stay,
buried in desert, an imminent winner at hide and seek,
sun-kissed flesh and other sweets,

Do anything but

bring the scavengers with me when I go

because I’m afraid when they
touch my skin it
will only speak of bone

Do anything but ask

if there is a cult inside of me, one
backed by the pulpit of
cactus prickles, Comanche spirits,
dirt road dust settling and
thunderbirds, our fathers’ collective last words

You wake alone in a sea of shiver,
remnant finger taps on your shoulder,
this is where the extra goes

Sorry, and everything else you’d like me to twist along

my tongue, a moth punching
dim dining room light, a love the pillow can’t
reach, one that forgets to come back

Please babe, do anything but ask
anything at all but ask
how the room got so cold

Names Other Actions:

Loyal  
dog heart, 
both your  
cheeks red 
somewhere 
dreams are so  
utterly 
lonely 
we invent friends 

Professor Genius 
back to 
school, 
Modern Lonelinisms, 
the syllabus  
changed 
again 

Dividing the 
twins, 
hyphenated  
names, 
other actions 
seemingly proper, 
concession  

A courtesy  
call to  
say I won’t  
cry in front  
of you 
putting our pets 
to sleep 

                                                                          Sophomore

College colors, clocks, crafts,
estate windows, first drafts
a Kevlar vest to study romance,
idle hands, a gypsy dance

Dorm room devotions,
we said, Oh we can be good again
we can be good.

Near Massachusetts,
we tore apart that museum looking
for where the sidewalk ends, later
at your parent’s cabin,
someone cut the phone lines.

Crushed velvet amusement park
pretty girls in the parking lots
low cut clothes, September.
Busy hands become tired kids in
tourist spots, ceramic bells and broken pots
waiting for a whirlwind of
ambiance.

We wait,
we wait
for it. We’re far too young to
have become this boring.

About the Author:

Originally from Wyoming, Jason Joyce, M.B.A. is a writer, arranger, consultant and optimist who has made it his life mission to never grow boring. You can learn more about his companies, current projects and published work by visiting jasonrjoyce.com or @savageconfetti on Instagram.

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