Joe Turns Forty

There’s forty and then there’s death.
The skin tells the teeth to get ready.
Eyes turn full circle in their sockets.
Nothing like watching a brain shrink.
Time has better things to do
than waste itself on sagging muscle.
It goes out on the town with young people,
leaves behind clocks to baby-sit their parents.
But Joe can still get a leg over from time to time.
And he just made vice-president.
There’s forty and then there’s forty one.
Death hands out years begrudgingly.


Photography © Ira Joel Haber

Photography © Ira Joel Haber



I spend my nights
drinking beer and listening
to the jukebox.
Glass of frothy amber,
Merle Haggard…
they have me to rights.
I’m nothing I’ve ever done
just one drunken head among many,
swaying, shaking, jerking, to the music.
This is deliberate.
Not claiming it for a great existence
but when someone says.
who’s for forgetting
every miserable moment
in their lives
up until now,
I put my hand up.
It’s the last thing
I remember doing.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Big Muddy and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in 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 and The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 160 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn.