The Kon Tum Motorbike Taxi Driver

says before the city fell he lived
in Saigon. He says he is sorry
his English is not better. He says
he has more practice now with French.
He says he used to be a professor of
philosophy. He says that was before. . .
and he waves his hand as if he were
brushing away a bothersome fly.
He says he went to America once.  
He says that was also before. . .
and the same fly requires
brushing away. He says he is sure
you know what he is saying.




Click button above to play audio for this poem, or click here to download in .mp3 format.

Drâa Valley Cemetery

Pounded flat by habit
a narrow path leaves a pile
of houses pulled from the ground
brick on brick and crumbling back
since the day they were made.

Beyond the last wall, sharp stones
mark the ends of graves as if to say
dry loss makes plain sorrow harder.
Whatever grows there grows
thorns, comes bent from the seed,

endures because it must.
Because there is no real comfort
in a coffin. Because there is
no coffin at all, just someone
wound in a shroud,

carried out from the town.
Parched air hovers around the graves,
and hoopoes probe the dirt between
stones, stop and hold—then flash
black wing stripes, bright topknots

into the green relief of the palmerie
across the road. Its irrigated shade.
New wheat coming up beneath the trees.
Whatever you thought you were
made of was never meant to last.




Click button above to play audio for this poem, or click here to download in .mp3 format.

Come Again?

No matter where I go I think of somewhere
else, some place I’ve traveled in the past.
In Morocco, breathing dry Saharan air,
I saw Sonora with its cactus and its dust.

If every single place must have its double
and every double doubles-up the same,
then here, with my elbows on this table,
I could still be anywhere but where I am.




Joseph Green has been to Viet Nam three times, and he recently spent ten months in Morocco. At home in Longview, Washington, he prints letterpress broadsides at The Peasandcues Press. His most recent chapbook is That Thread Still Connecting Us (MoonPath Press, 2012).

Photo of motorbikes in Viet Nam by Joseph Green.

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6 Responses

  1. Bailee

    “Come Again?” by Joseph Green was my favorite. It appealed to me because it was short and sweet. I noticed within the poem was slant rhyme, repetition of the word double and imagery. However, the title has me perplexed.

  2. Zahlee

    The Kon Tum Motorbike Taxi Driver by Joseph Green was my favorite. I liked the way he used repetition, imagery, and i liked that his choice of words were so simple but yet they still got the point across. What i also liked about this poem was the rhythm that was what really attached me to this poem.

  3. Jayme

    The Kon Tum Motorbike Taxi Driver, was my favorite poem. I enjoyed the imagery of the taxi driver and could almost feel his struggle with the English language by the short sentences and choice of wording. The part of him waving his hand illustrated some emotion towards the city he once lived in.

  4. Bryan

    I really liked The Kon Tum Motorbike Taxi Driver because it painted a clear picture in my head. Love the imagery.

  5. Doralee Brooks

    I just found Joseph Green on Verse Daily, and I love his work, really smart, moving, and subtle. Love it!

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