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  • John Reed

Three sonnets

By John Reed

Your name was written all over me

We were there on the street corner,

standing too close together, or too far apart,

and your name was written all over me,

in fat marker, chisel-tip, red and black.

Oh, and all caps. Name, first and last, and times

and dates, and percentages, usually

quite high, like eighty-eight or ninety-four.

The red ink had wept onto my collar.

And that friend of yours, or maybe mine,

looked from you to me, and from me to you,

while we acted like sorta acquaintances,

and made introductions, casually,

until--who’s friend?--ran off to not see more.

And then

And then you were a fuzzywuzzy bunny.

And then you were a three-sided dagger.

And then you were a torn flag on a flagpole.

And then you were happy hour and nylons.

And then you were me, and then you were you.

And then you were a shack by a mountain.

And then you were a Billy Idol song.

And then you were Ziggy, then Jewel.

And then you were a June day with no fan.

And then you were money honey money.

And then you were a street and a stranger.

And then you were a red-check duffle coat.

And then you were here, and then you were gone.


We were somewhere for something, then nowhere,

walking down an avenue in Brooklyn,

which appeared for you, amber and empty,

and going in the wrong direction,

away from my city that still loved me,

and into a borough with our shadows

painted in doorways, embracing in years.

Take me for ransom, and I’ll make payment

with a cereal box full of centimes,

two Dixie cups attached by baker’s twine,

and a living room set made of Lego.

My once flatterer, take me for ransom,

and I promise you my name, désastre.


John Reed is a poet and author who lives in New York City. insta & twitter @easyreeder /


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