The art of humor seems to happen less on the page
And more when direness
Pulls its reins – a need, hunger. The art of anger
Has no reins, of course. Who needs
Control when it’s already lost. I can hear every word
When the spiral happens. The slippage
Into cold sweats and clenched fists. I can feel it
Right now. Art of humor, that’s where
We were. Almost lost it.
Yes, humor is flinging bread
A little too hard at gulls as a child. Or changing
Your voice to sound like that man
In the toll booth, who you later realized was
Very Ill, and you never were the same.
I did forgive myself
Eventually, once I had to work that same shitty job.
I now laugh at bank statements
And foreplay. I laugh at you when you sit on the cat’s tail.
I walk to the kitchen and mutter something about
The dishes and take a note off the fridge—
A grocery list with that funny way you spell detergent
With a ‘j’. The man from the toll booth
Had his larynx removed. Birds die, often fly into windows
Or get sucked into jet engines. The humor
Is there, somewhere in the back row, light as a feather.
Maybe a girl in a sundress. Maybe a man
Next to her in suspenders—their lives beginning or
Ending. They laugh at a spilled cocktail,
Maniacal at first, then with a soft touch
To the wrist.
Ryan Favata is a graduate of Rollins College, where he received the Laura van den Berg Writing Scholarship and the Arden Goettling / Academy of American Poets Prize. His work has appeared in One Throne Magazine, Red River Review, 94 Creations, After the Pause, Ricochet and others.