The Caravan: A Poem for Joel

So much depends upon a black oil drum beside the white squall squalling,1
While admiring id’s fantastic designs from the giant portholes of the overheated
Swiss submarine2
“Beware the Shitbird, my grasshopper!
The beak that holds, the claws that dig!3

And the shitbird would spook us never again
but we would keep writing, always we would write.4
As if insanity’s embrace could liberate us, we run at full speed down the runway,
orange bright coals dragging time by its neck5

To sweltering nights spent exposing dripping crimson carcasses6
Mad hair, calm voice, busy over the slab,
Joel’s unholy volts revive the story.7
“Vulnerability!” he cried, “I need more vulnerability!”8
For creation is a natural mess, sweat and torque, dredge and drag,
not for the faint or fearful.
And each caravan must have its guide.9

1Jamez Chang
2Victor Dvortsov
3Missy Hart
4Jennifer Patano
5Jayme del Rosario
6Sakinah Hofler
8Kevin Chester Kuo
9Andrew Chappell

Writers Studio Level II Summer 2012—Jamez Chang, Victor Dvortsov, Missy Hart, Jennifer Patano, Jayme del Rosario, Sakinah Hofler, Student, Kevin Chester Kuo, Andrew Chappell

We were not the Breakfast Club. Though we collected cereal box tops. We were poets, writers, painters, and filmmakers. We met through the Writers Studio in NYC, and we broke ice and bread through our work. We read Levine, Kyle, Kenan, Schulman—Yates. And for 10 weeks, inside a Caravan in NoHo, we played with the language. That’s why a Poem for Joel.

Jamez Chang’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Underground Voices, Bartleby Snopes, FRiGG, Prime Number, and Menacing Hedge. After graduating from Bard College, Jamez went on to become the first Korean-American to release a hip-hop album, Z-Bonics (1998), in the United States. He is the Editor of Flash Fiction at Counterexample Poetics, and currently works in the video game industry in NYC. Visit:

Sakinah Hofler, a former chemical engineer, is a writer of stories and movies. Her work has appeared in Counterexample Poetics. She is the Assistant Moderator of the website Book in a Week. She is preparing to enter her first year at Florida State University’s MFA program in Creative Writing where she hopes to use her newfound writing time to refine, revise, and finish one of her draft novels. She was born in Newark, New Jersey but currently resides in (sunny) Tallahassee, Florida. She can be found via Twitter or Facebook.

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1 Response to The Caravan: A Poem for Joel

  1. Pingback: “The Caravan: A Poem for Joel” in Eunoia Review—June 2013 | jamez chang

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