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  • Writer's pictureLover's Eye Press

A Poem by Joseph Lee Meads

<weather gods>

(Recipient of the 2020 Goodnow Award)

A cyclical story: heavens

soften as a cold sweat, infused

with an earthen stench –

leaves of deciduous trees turn

upward, a funeral-like silence

domes slowly downward;

a hair trigger with an uneasy grip...

Birds mute; dogs howl; 5-

hearted earthworms squirm

instinctually to the surface

of sidewalks or concrete lots,

only to be diffused by sunlight

into an extravagant orgy

of death:

As the wet lumpen whisper

curses to the all

too typical indifference

of those whom shroud in glossy gossip rags the grace

of their head hairs and scalp

skin; as glass foyers steam

anxiously up – jammed

with golf umbrellas,

umbrella canes, bubble

umbrellas; lavish, wicking fabrics...


Astraphobia (from the Greek word astrape; lightning) is the name given

to an irrational fear of thunder, lightning, storms, epic poetry, phalluses,

drunkenness; the defeat of the dominion over humanity's faux-environments:

with this I can empathize; never, however, sympathize; to quote Horace:

"naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret."


I was born during a blizzard

on the far eastern edge of an outdated concept:

tornado alley (it's shifted);

where the growing season is organized into a deceptiveness of finite perpendicularity

– stalks of corn interrupted via green seas

of toxic-sprayed soy – then harvest, Halloween,

Thanksgiving; the twilit intoxication of early winter,

and the ensuing cruel sobriety of reading clocks,

ticking off the months with a pallid anemia;

black snow, soft sun, metallic-suicide sky;

the ungodly daytime of it all.

I was born landlocked at the level of the sea.

The searing electric ropes of Zeus, Thor;

the hysterical winds of Tezcatlipoca;

the vast reverberations and torrents of Indra – these men

were the least/most malevolent

of my imaginary boyhood acquaintances.

I studied their cryptic tongues;

awed –

Thunderstorms 'nudge'

a given cell with earth rising when warm.

Supercell moisture; the required air.

The ingredients keep

clusters single.

Of heat lines above sunlight:

unstable mechanisms; severe –

surface lifting, rising.

Anticyclone anomaly.

Evapotranspiration. Condensing

vapors. Rain shadow...


Joseph Lee Meads is a student in the MA Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has previously been published in Columbia Poetry Review. His work is informed by his diagnosis of schizophrenia and subsequent "disabled" status; he is an advocate for mental health awareness and social justice. He's also heavily obsessed with B movies made before the 21st century.

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