︎︎︎ Haley Joy Harris

︎ Apr 10, 2023

i don’t take my life
so personally
says the splintered
wooden chair
on my street
placed outside
to a laminated bag
of mowed yard
waste. cruising between
utility & artifact.
i adopt its freelance philosophy.
the neighborhood smells
like magnolia or is that engine
fuel. i let it suffuse the skin
wrapping my neck
like the chair’s midcentury
orange vinyl seat.
pretending there’s a choice.
sipping up microplastic
& loving it like those
7-Eleven Saturdays.
it’s Spring
it’s Spring
& i’ll be whatever
you need me to be.
i’ll let your need
eclipse what i am.
what i am
is arbitrary.
the way a concept
& a sound-image
as a sign.
i think it was
Saussure who said that
or was it a
Domino’s commercial
or Jim Dow in those
vacant glittering
American landscapes.
preciousness— a feeling
surrounding what empties
most easily.
a promise
of what i could buy
as a proxy for who
i could love as a proxy
for how it could make
me new.
i like when a photograph
can show how
a diversion to the path
is a kind of path
& i mean isn’t the path
a grand diversion anyway
composed of signs–arbitrary
& useful
& arbitrary again.
Dairy Queen
Fortune Teller
Jumbo Bowling Pin
forever is real
& ordinary like a Thursday.
i want to be useful.
watch me pose
like a gutter
or a bag of Harvest
Cheddar SunChips.
watch me pose
like a bundt cake pan
or a toothbrush.
hold me for a time
& rinse me near
the drain.
place me somewhere
to dry.

Haley Joy Harris is a writer from Los Angeles currently based in St. Louis. She will be pursuing her MFA in Poetry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst beginning in the Fall.