john pinkham

 At Home Soil Tests and Self Loathing

My neighbor Maria
waters her potted plants
at five in the morning
she grows flowers so big
their egos look up at the trees
across the street
and calmly say
you aint shit
they die cocky every fall

Maria wears a pink mumu
and a sun hat
every day except
when she passes me by
in black and silver velvet
a plump smile
and a kind word
Va com Deus
Go with God

   as if to say
Thou shalt too be like a watered garden my child
I have found Jeremiah
In these Dahlias
And we talk about you
Wont you join me at church?

     But every Sunday
I sit on my stoop hungover
and blow smoke
through the words
Va com Deus
and in that moment
I fucking hate Maria
Maria who throws French Fries in our backyard
dumps out our ashtrays into the alley
tips over our garbage cans with the push of a cane
who grows flowers so big
only to watch them die

   just like a new god
to tease something lovingly into life
and watch it wilt

  My garden could take her flowers to the mat
I have hot peppers as big as my fist
green beans I could splint a finger with
squash flowers and sweet potatoes that look like
a meet-up group for the color orange
and tomatoes, well they’re green right now
but it is only July
give it some time
and there will be so many tomatoes
I could make a ten gallon batch
of pizza sauce,
and throw a pizza party for everyone in the neighborhood
except for Maria

       The point being
that I rip my children from the ground
in their prime
and feed my kingdom
with their dead souls
just like an old God

  The point being
that Maria walks home from church every Sunday
and I am still a rotted thing
pumped full of poison

        The point being
the soil in East Cambridge
pits lead from a city no longer here
but history bleeds all bloody stomach
into your watermelons
into your peppers
into your kingdom

   the point being
that when a nice woman
all alone in this world
wants to uproot you from the lead of yourself
transplant you into a plastic bucket
where at least you can die beautiful
by the hand of the seasons
by the hand of something out of your control
by the hand of a God
you say yes


screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-12-17-25-amJohn Pinkham is a spoken word poet from Boston who calls the Cantab Lounge his home. He was a finalist at the Boston Poetry Slam’s IWPS qualifiers in 2016 & is currently working on his first book. Drawing inspiration from his family’s Boston Italian roots, his poems can be paired with a large iced regular from Dunkin Donuts & a Pizzelle cookie.


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