Photography © Ira Joel Haber


Midday Acquaintance

I’m out here where the murals hold hands
where a wall meets street liquor
I’m out here finding keyholes of fingers
in sheets of a songmaker’s coat

Maverick, the Henna, drums his paint bucket
outside a flicker-faced bourgeois theater
Hawk, lusty king of the stoop, jokes about
my Gothic lettered t-shirt, and tells me:

One of these days you’ll have to confront
your change, hold it down, dare to spit
in its ear, and finally, unfolding yourself,
you’ll see fresh fissures of you splitting you.

He offered to buy me a soda in the dumpling
shop next door, but I no-thanksed him
because, despite public addiction, sugar
has always been a narrower snake

Its paper-thin treason always in bright supply,
and Hawk says: good thinking, I can
respect that and–hey look, there goes
some fine pussy, taut like a teacher,

get it while you’re young because one day
you’ll only be able to help yourself,
now’s your time to be generous and remember
if you don’t sin then Jesus died for nothing.


James Cole is a poet, author, and graduate student based out of Charlottesville, VA. He is an instructor at the Virginia WritersHouse and the founder of the Charlottesville Poetry Critique Circle. In 2019 he published his first collection, Crow, come home, with VerbalEyze Press.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.