Archaeology of Silence

Can we assume the bald man dresses
himself in a skin-colored turtleneck
to intentionally resemble a phallus
or must he announce he’s studied Freud?

When she suggests I think outside the box
I respond that saying think outside the box
is an example of thinking inside the box.

She looks at me like I’m French-Canadian,
her eyes dull as tulip bulbs that never bloomed,
and claims I resemble Connecticut:
my best quality’s my proximity to New York.

Her diction’s as crowded as Walmart’s parking lot
on Sunday but the more she talks
the less I listen, my protests pointless
as pockets in an infant’s pajama pants.

It’s better not to admit the thoughts
double-parked in my brain extend to —

There’s an awful lot of wrinkles in these wrinkle-free pants.
It’s probably the creamer but this coffee tastes like crayon.
Should I tip the delivery drone and wish it a good weekend?

We’re all geniuses when we’re quiet.

Should I join a gym to look like a guy who goes to the gym?
Do I purchase fireworks from the man with three fingers on his right hand?
The miracle of miracles is people believe in miracles.

Sometimes silence is the stone shown
but never thrown. Still, we honor the artist,
not the art; credit the rebel who hurled
the rock with heroism, never the rock itself.

WinnerBrad Johnson of the 2012 Longleaf Press Chapbook Contest, Brad Johnson has published four chapbooks of poetry. His first full-length collection, The Happiness Theory, was published by Main Street Rag in January 2014. Work of his has also been accepted by Nimrod, Permafrost, Poet Lore, The South Carolina Review, The Southeast Review, Southern Indiana Review, Willow Springs, and others.