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poetry Talk in the Town Barbershop

Poet Joseph Zaccardi, Laureate of Marin County, explores the local chit-chat, reminding us it’s also about what folks don’t want to say or hear.

Western Barberpole,

Talk in the Town Barbershop

By Joseph Zaccardi

The talk is about war about history and how historians copy one another the talk is about a mind that is not there about absent friends the talk is about the abyss the red inner flesh of desire the dunes of another world the talk is about ailments and failures about the two-way stop sign in the town center installed after a child was run down by a red Impala the talk is about the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay being shut down by the National Park Service about the five-year drought and the recent rains softening the hillsides they repeat what they believe is true over and over as prayer how orphans beget orphans about the criminals’ lives and despair the talk is about sunflowers and the market price of copper the talk is about sighting a great blue heron at the watershed about the blue sky and the blue bay about how time flies just to keep up the talk is about black men being shot point blank about sunrise obscured by a curtain of glaucoma the talk is about the whistle only dogs can hear and what humans spurn to hear

Joseph Zaccardi served as Marin County, CA poet laureate (2013-2015), and during his tenure published and edited Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies & Bystanders Project. He is the author of four books poetry, the latest being A Wolf Stands Alone in Water (CW Books 2015). His poems have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Spillway, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere.