3 ‘Synthetic’ Poems by Joan Colby


Finest denier encasing calf and thigh
the way a lover caresses sheer
sleek flesh. The seam invisible
with time. Introduced in
1939, a year floating with
premonitions of war. Military gear,
ripstop parachutes dangling
harnessed bodies like stricken angels.
The way silken legs snapped
to garter belts in a generic
style. How monofilaments of high
tensile line hook the hungry,
let lust wear itself out, fighting
and submerging.


“NYLON Bible” image by Flickr user poshxbunny


In the photograph, he stands in
a sky blue leisure suit,
stacked heels, gold chain. He has
a beard. She is dressed in a plaid
skirt, purple vest, a blouse with big
sleeves. Her hair is long and ironed
straight. Shag rug, slinky sheets
on the waterbed, everything
chemical and irritating. They only
wanted what everyone wanted.
She painted her eyelids blue.
He started wearing faux silk briefs.
That’s how she knew.


“hippies” image by Flickr user charlie1977


Sleek and black as wet seals
Sprawled on rocks like intestines
Or bags overstuffed with something
Unclean. Otherworldly divers with
The bends or sucking air the way
Gypsies do scamming the housewives.
Fishermen in waders casting
Imposter flies as a woman
Puts on the face mask of desire,
The wet suit skin-tight
To expel the cold as she floats
Face up in a radical emulsion
Thinking all of this is simply

100_1176Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007),  Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News,and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, and her newest book from Future Cycle Press—“Dead Horses.” FutureCycle has just published “Selected Poems.” A chapbook “Bittersweet” is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Press next winter.