Joseph has obtained publishing credits in several books of poetry including The Best Poetry of 2001 and The Best Poetry of 2002 by the International Society of Poets, Theatre of the Mind by Noble House Publisher (2003) and the International Who’s Who in Poetry 2012 by Poetry Productions. Published in 2016, Joseph’s poetry anthology, Complications, spans more than twenty years of writing.


Complications is a collection of poetry focusing on the most pressing issues – money, marriage, family, religion, sex, war, politics, fame, a good job, a nice car, a big house, education, lifestyles, drugs, love, health, friendship, death – that we face in our journey through this obstacle called life.

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  • Featured Poem

The Last Moments of Mr. Wargman 

“It is hard to tell what I have going for me,”

He said in a frightful and discerned manner,

While pleading for sympathy,

“I am without a job,

Without a wife,

No longer a father,

Three painful years it has been since my son and daughter died of the Spanish flu,

Now I am on the verge of death at the behest of a dear friend,

Whom I am indebted to in payments I could never return,

The world can turn so quickly,

And yet rarely are we reminded…”

He paused,

Took a deep breath,

And suddenly turned threatening,

His eyes scrutinizing us,

Inviting but disgusting,

The hate inside each of us can be released at any moment,

If one is endowed to do so,

And he was,

Marshall Wargman,

Bitter in his middle age,

And desperate for friendship,

I had not known him longer than this very evening,

While visiting the local pub,

Suddenly he spat offensively,

At a poor waitress walking by him on her way to a cheerful crowd of patrons,

And I watched as he was thrown out into the street,

By two hefty locals who looked as though they had seen enough of old Mr. Wargman,

And as he stood there that night,

Outside in the moonlit street,

The fog making his bleeding,

Horrid state ever more frightening,

He took note at present to gulp his liquor,

Puff his tobacco,

And scream obscenities that pierced my head,

Then forthwith was silent,

Yet I gained something more,


From the encounter,

To watch a man rage,

And unleash his rage,

One is subject to a flood of emotions,

I saw that Madam Bontou was indeed melancholy,

To be walking so close to a man purging his demons,

Attempting to conceal her awareness of him,

As she made her way to a private destination,

And still with a good heart she tried to ignore him,

And yet she too was stricken with naivety,

For his sudden reaction,

Which occurred as this eccentric woman began to stare down Mr. Wargman,

Was done precisely,

In my belief,

As a result of her own pride and equal antipathy for this man,

Then he lunged at her and screamed,

“Breaking down,

Breaking down,

Tell me, what should I do!”

Madam Bontou was in a gripping panic,

She could smell the liquor on his breath crisply in the cold air,

The whiskey dripping from his maddening grin,

The fear that he may be insane alarmed us,

Tormented us,

As indeed it tormented him,

His poor mind was gone,

And there was nothing he,

Nor anyone could do,

Hopelessness reigned,

And he quickly drew from his back pocket,

Hidden from view from the long shabby coat he wore,

A long silver pistol that glistened in the moonlight,

Perhaps the only thing of real value this man owned,

And before I could calculate his meaning,

It was pointed at the old woman,

The madam wearing a ghostly stare,

But it passed over her and moved directly towards his temple,

And I felt I should cry out to distract and save this man,

Then realized I would only become another source of his abhorrence,

And eventually he would return to this very act,

That perhaps he has performed a hundred times before,

With or without me still in this world,

So I remained quiet and waited for what the old,

Despondent man would do,

He watched the gun pass his eyes,

Directly in view of his own demise,

I saw a tear drop hard from his right eye,

And then as he pulled it closer,

His eyes closed and his lips began to quiver,

A prayer perhaps,

To have mercy on his soul,

Or a last goodbye in an angry thrashing,

That his life had been so miserable,

Then suddenly I heard the click above his moans,

And saw Madam Bontou flee the scene,

As his end came in a flood of crimson red,

And as I watched in mournful dismay,

I wondered if now the sad,

Old drunken fool,

Was finally at ease,

Back with his children,

In a land that was all so promisingly new to him,

For it appeared that happiness was the one thing he had long pursued.




© Joseph R. Granato, 2019

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