Laze through a daze of wasted days,
greasy fast-food wrappers on the floorboard,
a half full ashtray, a half tank of gas and nowhere to go,
aimlessly cruising a labyrinth of half-empty strip malls
dotting the topographically challenged
countryside of Middle America,
all barren and unbearable,
a graveyard of matchsticks,
of flames that never sparked.
Slackers always leaving for the holiday season,
returning to the comfortable roost
in the monotonous land of pop, casserole,
vinyl siding, and down-market ranch homes
from which they were hatched,
returning every Christmas from their cities
and college towns to the big empty flat
of little ambition and less hope,
like salmon circling back
to their place of birth
to spawn and die.
Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, a photographer, the editor in chief of the Northwest Indiana Literary Journal and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who has had a play staged at the Detroit Heritage Theatre Festival, who has showcased his photography at the Oddtropolis Art Show in San Fransisco, who has read his work for the Fictitious series on the iO Theater stage and who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary or photographic work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 100 journals, including The Tipton Poetry Journal, Chicago Literati, The Vignette Review, Voicemail Poems, Dogzplot, Proximity Magazine, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, The First Line, Bull Men’s Fiction, Rising Phoenix Review, Thoughtful Dog, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, The Rat’s Ass Review, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. He should have gone to bio writing school to learn how to write a better bio.