Sunday, January 18, 2015

John Yohe- Two Poems

for her and her cat

she stands out front of Powell's bookstore
most every day
with a piece of cardboard
on which
is written
lost job
please spare

for me

and my cat
I can't tell how old she really is
though she goes for the young look—
wearing her hair
in pig tails
in tight black mini-skirts
fishnet tights
and black leather boots
not surprisingly
of all the panhandlers
she seems to do the best
especially with older women—
more than once
I've seen
one take her hand
and slip a twenty dollar bill
into it
when they do
they lean in close
whispering something
and she nods


go ahead
be scared or laugh
but if ugliness is a curse
it's also a power

and solitude has its blessings
and anyways
I have my snakes—
go be beautiful

put on your make-up
and your party dresses—
I have my cave
and its fire

and its shadows
and anyways
no man in mythology
was ever judged

for his looks
one way or the other
like you will be
my sister 
Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger, wilderness ranger, and fire lookout, as well as a teacher of writing.  A complete list of his publications, and poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing samples, can be found at his website: