Poetry for the Hard of Hearing
Johnny Masuda's Articles
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

one night in a blizzard of snow and madnessin a little Indiana town lost to the interstateChristopher cut his palms with a butcher knifeand worked through the night painting his heartin broad strokes swearing in ten second breaths at what a slutshe could be he’d leave his mark dripping on canvasthen sobbing he’d cry out his love for the slut thatate his hearther cannibal ways left him crippled with onlyten fingers and ten toes and nothing to pumpthe soul back to life&n...
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

mo cooks five days a week down atthe horse head bar and grillhe practices his art on a circle of drunksthat crave his special flavorsnot all of them food but he’s not just a cook-ie cutter formof a man that fills the bellies of the jovialcrowd waiting on his creationshis art is in his heart and the desire tofind that other half to keep his insanityfinely tuned has ruined better men thanhe but like every man before him his dickleads the way and a couple of times a yearhe...
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

lil’ t wakes with the sun two hours fromthe last time she cracked her eyes full ofsweat to cry the pain in her back and get readyto work another day with smiles for the tipsand kind words for drinkers getting drunkkilling their pain all around pain but behind the smiles and false promisesa little girl silently cries as she goes aboutthe hard moments of living not knowing whyor when or who will come to ring the bell ofwonderments that raise the soul above the painabove t...
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

bob’s got two heartbeatssomewhere in redding ca.the courts take his check everyother weekbut the heartbeats can’t be seen throughthe wall of a vindictive mother so he downs a dozen vodkas a nightchased by forty milligrams of syntheticsmack to kill the pain and keep theblood in his veins cause the feelings cold and all he wantsis to be warm—even if it’s just for a night. J. Masuda © 2008
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

they told her it was pre-cancerlike she was pre-registering forwedding gifts don’t worry they saidthe next test will tell us moreand more and more but the test cost money and no smilesfrom the financial counselor will discountthe little pre-cancer cells into a willingnessto wait they keep dividing and mutating and growingstealing hope like vultures feasting on road killyou’ll be better—for a price but first, another test. J. Masuda © 2008...
October 22, 2008 by Johnny Masuda

there’s an old man in white shoeshe walks in circles around a green planterthat holds a dying tree slumped to the side on the third revolution he lightsa hand-rolled cigarette thenhe walks in circles pausing to stare atthe burning ember of his cigarette and thedying leaves of the treethen back to walking circles when he has finished the cigarette hefield strips the butt and slides the remainsinto his pocketbefore he leaves he spits over the rail ontothe cars in the...
November 18, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
they plop down in the bus seat
behind me
two teen girlies in piles of layered
clothing to stay warm

I’m invisible
strapped into the slot for a
wheel chair
handicapped people can be
hard to see

one tells the other about cutting
herself around her pubes so people
couldn’t tell

they’re talking in whispers, but I’m
invisible and they don’t know I can
hear everything

I can smell the scent of their hair

the other one tells her friend she
does it under her boobs

August 27, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
there’s this guy that lives across the
street from our new house
I think his name is john or tom or something
like that

he told me he had just gotten out of jail
for stealing a bicycle for crystal meth

sometimes late at night
I sit in the door and smoke a joint
while I listen to the bodeans or the pixies or
john lee hooker

he strolls out into the street
hoping I’ll let him hit the joint
with his shaky hands

I tell him
the guy I live with is crazy
seriously fucked up from ...
August 27, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
when I was nine
the year my father died
and my mother started drinking
she gave me a set of encyclopedias
as old as I was

I would spend hours reading
in it, picking one out of the
alphabet and going away in
my head while my mom drank
in bar downstairs

I hated the bar and the drunks
and all the shit that came with
them, but I loved my mom even
when she forgot to love me

it was life.

I didn’t know any better
all the kids I knew had families
like mine
fucked up mean dysfu...
July 17, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
back in the day
played the Flying Dutchman
here today and gone tomorrow
seeking shelter in a safe-house
hiding from the man that said
she was his wife
then said "I promise
I’m gonna KILL YOU!!!”

J. Masuda © 2007
May 31, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
I’ve got a lot of aches and pains
(living at light speed has it’s price)
and there are times when only a
handful of narcotics will dull the

I bitch about it and sometimes
I allow myself a moment of self-pity
but only a moment,

then I remember I’m not in Afghanistan
getting my brains blown out
or in Somalia starving getting my
brains blown out or
Iraq getting my brains blown out
Darfur starving and running from
camel riding assassins getting my brains
blown out

I go...
May 31, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
I was forty-seven years old
and I was finally making my first

the church had seven priests in
different corners
each with a line of the confessing
my legs were wobbly and I was sweating
across my forehead like I had my
own little rain storm going on

I wasn’t sure seven priests would
be enough to clean my ass up
but I stepped up when it was my
turn sat down and did the “Bless
me Father, for I have sinned.”

he knew it was my first confession
and told me to relax an...
May 31, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
when I was a boy
six or seven
I met this old Mexican drunk
named Gus

he would come to my mother’s
café in the sunny afternoons on
the Texas side of the Gulf Coast

drink Pearl beer with beads of sweat
glistening through the amber glass and
tell me stories

one Sunday I walked over to his
he lived in a travel court of shacks
that followed a circle drive that ended
where it started

it was warm already
maybe hot
he sat at a gray topped formica
kitchen table on wo...
May 31, 2007 by Johnny Masuda
“oh, I love my junkie boyfriend”
meagan said.

watching sickboy drive the twenty foot
cad steering the big wheel with his
he timed the lights
while he tied off with the seatbelt
and pushed into a vein,

he was dancing in his head
just short of the nod
letting go of the belt and breaking
out in that shit-eating –grin
he always got when the shit
hit his head

she leaned against him and ran
her nineteen year old hand over
his thirty year old cock,

“I love my junkie boyf...
June 17, 2005 by Johnny Masuda
I read today about the "Big" guys in poetry
a sordid tale of in-fighting, nepotism, and the rigging
of the contests, a sad comment on the world of the
august and ivory halls of legitimacy,

a shadow of darkness, crinkling the edges like
dirty money, has been cast over the paragons of
verse and foiled the pristine veneer of the
mystical sage,

for a moment I thought I would drink to their
nakedness and mourn the lose of their facades,
but then I smiled as I realized I was right whe...