Current Issue        Archives        Submissions        Books        Coming Soon        Contact


Justin Hyde (email, website)


About the Poet:

Justin lives in Iowa where he works as a correctional officer.  Click the link above to visit Justin's website.



the only school dance i ever went to


shin han
the awkward exchange student
from south korea
(i always befriended
exchange students)
swore on his
grandmother's bones
he was gonna ask
jenny greenfield
to dance.


begged at my feet
for a week
until i agreed
to go with him.


shin and i
sat on the
middle school
gym bleachers
eating popcorn.


way it worked
we were given a card
with fifteen slots,
you could ask a girl
or she could ask you.


mine was
into an airplane.


shin's was peppered
with sweat
and nervous farts,
he'd been waiting two hours
to make his move.


ac dc's 'thunderstruck' came on.
one of the eighth grade wrestlers
grabbed my arm
pulled me out into a tight circle
with twenty other jocks (i was
on the seventh grade wrestling team
because i thought tough dudes wrestled
and at the time
i thought i wanted to be a tough dude)


they sang along
shaking their fists at the sky
to the beat of each 'thun-der.'


i knew
something important was happening,


some sort of hypnotic tribal bonding.


but it wasn't meant for me.


i quietly disappeared out the fire exit


feeling better and better


the further i got.



this morning at the bagel shop
what do you think?
allan asks
taking the top off a box of
black leather shoes
from wal-mart.
pretty swank
what's the occasion?
i ask
closing my notebook.
tells me he's going out to dinner
with a girl from the great clips
across the street
how it's his first date
in twelve years.
this one or this one?
he asks
opening the door to the small office
behind the cash register.
he holds up a purple and white striped polo in one hand
and a black turtleneck sweater
in the other.
sweater all the way
more mystery.
couldn't afford new pants
think if i iron these
i'll be alright?
he flares out the sides
of his khakis.
been a long time
since i've seen a grown man so eager
to reach in there
and put his heart
on the chopping block.
inclined to tell him
he'd be better off
masturbating to internet porn
and getting a dog
for companionship
but i suppose every man
deserves the chance
to see that light
at his own speed.
what's her name?
i ask.
he smiles
cranking up the shop stereo
about ten notches.



the one legged woman


slapped me across the side of the face
i slapped her back.
we'd started out with mercy
but played that to a draw.
she slapped me again, harder,
my eardrum went cotton -
i ceded her victory,
no way i was gonna hit a woman that hard.
she smiled
punched my shoulder
twisted my nipple
told me
i had the body of a gymnast.
she worked sales floor
at the bike shop in iowa city,
i wrenched in back.
jacked off to her
least twice a week

but i was only nineteen -
still hadn't shed
the antisocial permafrost
from being raised
by a couple of
unmedicated garden gnomes
which is too bad
because looking back
she was giving all the signs.
i got my go-cart running
couple years down the road
put the hatchet to a pregnant woman,
a jewess,
a haitian immigrant,
wasp bar-ho #1-1000
and sundry other
puzzle pieces of
but a one legged woman?
imagine that
on your resume.