The 2River View

Joe Wiinikka-Lydon

Empire of Time

An age has ended like the boxing of one’s ears.
A new age has yet
to begin, and so what?

Why not wait a while longer?

The cattle cars sit in a cypress stand
and cool their heals. A few breaths
are taken. Out in the islands
a breeze lingers in someone’s hair.
A catamaran


While we wait, I pull out a chair for you
in a bar we frequent. I pull out a chair
and we wait for the next age to speak its name.
Will it be cruel? Will it slide into our hands
like an ancient urn or slip on through,
smooth and slick as tupperware?
Will the next age roll in our mouths
until, choking, we spit it out
for someone else to swallow? Oh,

you call it traitor and kick back your chair as you rise,
but there is still time to call
a spade a spade. So I ask you,

it all began with the word,
didn’t it?

In the end, you reply,
it all began.

My Speaking to You is a Song I Sing Softly

to the ash that yearns to take our names, to the rock
that watches, to the dust
that squanders our stories like mornings overslept.

Where is the myth that will make this new?

The time of the word is nearly at an end. Its age was like a doll closing
its eyes,

a bearded lady, a jack in the box.

Even today, we can still catch its scent, a rawness like old leaves
crumbling, the smell

of something undercooked.

But it all started not with words
but music. Or so we
were almost told.

Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon is currently a doctoral candidate at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He has published poetry in 2River View and Cimarron Review, among others, and has lived and worked in several countries, including Turkey, Bosnia, and Kenya. contact