Personal Problem

Brendan Joyce


The thing about the rich is that they’re just like us:
easy to kill. When I am busiest I remember when I was
empty, my days and nights spent, like the bottom
of my bank account, on the quickest pleasures.
Empty– books and movies and albums and
walking the length of boroughs. When lost
mime searching, mimic more successful
people, pretend your grief is a map.
This is a bad cookbook. A pinch of dusk.
The smell of death drifting off the
river, the desire to drift back.
Lord, let me exhaust my excuses,
the richest man alive is just
foodstuff and a bit of water.


Brendan Joyce is a poet, teacher and essayist, from Cleveland, Ohio. His poetry has been featured in Lithub, Midnight Sun, The Reservoir, Prolit, waxnine, Sonora Review and  The Brooklyn Rail. He is the author of three books of poetry: Character Limit (2019), Love & Solidarity (2020) and Personal Problem (2023), as well as a forthcoming memoir surplus years.

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