Joke for a Dollar

That’s what his sign said.

Feeling like the sadness inside me

was a buzzard pecking my insides out,

I paid my dollar and waited to laugh,

to giggle and howl, forgetting how you

met my questions with silence,

blurring the sight of you dropping the ribbon

from my present in the garbage can

as I pleaded with you to give it back.

The joke man in the park didn’t realize

he had a heavy load to lift.

He started out with a joke about a taco stand in Arizona.

I didn’t laugh.

His ancient blue eyes capsized with hurt,

his body grew rigid as the trees in Washington

Square Park tightened around him,

the park where Bob Dylan played and the world

rocked to a new order,

the park where Jane Jacobs stopped Robert Moses

from putting a highway down the center,

the park where clowns, acrobats and hipsters

seduce throngs to throw silver coins in a hat.

But I was not moved from my misery.

The amateur with the promise on his sign

offered me another joke,

warming me to an online budding romance,

a man sent a woman a picture of just one eye.

She said she liked it so he sent her a picture
of one toe,

she swooned, she sent him a picture of her parrot, channeling the voice of May West.

The man was allergic to birds and sent her a picture

of a roasted canard, announcing, I canard do this.

Did I mention that all the jokes advertised as original?

All for a dollar in the glorious May sunshine,

with the flutey water of the fountain shooting,

students reading Baudelaire, the pigeons

bravely parading around crumbs and cores.

The jokes were lost children, scattered and torn,

like you daughter, pecking away at my Mother’s Day,

chasing me like a bird above the park and the city needing attention. Words I felt well worth my dollar.


–  Lee Schwartz

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7 Responses to Joke for a Dollar

  1. This is spectacular.

  2. yes , spectacular♡

  3. I'm so impressed by your writing talent! It's great to see it published,
    and that it's appreciated!

  4. delbertdelbert

    Many things may be worth the price of one dollar; the feelings living in "Joke for a Dollar," are worth much, much more. This is a wonderful poetic expression of the many meanings embracing one moment; the work is incredibly instructive, and impressive.

  5. I have read "Joke for a Dollar," many times, and each time its deeper sensibilities reach out to me. Laughter, with its healthful healing forces, cannot always distract from hurt, pain and anguish; and sometimes laughter (possibly) increases suffrage.

    The woman is left without comforts from the joke man, and therefore causes him hurt. He offers another joke, but is the second trial to soothe the woman or him of suffrage.

    We often are subject to hurt and pain, and how we deal with suffrage determines outcomes, and for lifetimes. Life never apologizes for the anguish it bestows, but requires that we learn to adapt and adopt its suffrage.

  6. In all honesty this is an incredible indepth article even so as with most fantastic freelance writers there are many points that might be worked after. However in no way your less it was intriguing.

  7. Mindovermatterer

    Read this to my friend Amy recovering from Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome on her lunch break and she felt better. Well worth the one dollar.

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