Joey – Departed

Haibun Poetry Form, Motorcycle Ride

Haibun Poetry


Mom comes upstairs crying. Her tears run down her cheeks, her hands tremble as she collapses into a chair at our kitchen table.

“Joey’s dead. He died in a motorcycle accident.”

A numb silence follows. Suddenly I stand at the gas station he ran off Route 9 in Dobbs Ferry. His mother Lisa, my first cousin, stands next to me. We watch Joey ride off on his “cock rocket.” She bites her lip and creases her brow, worry showing on her usually frenetic, happy face.

“I’m scared, Frankie. One day he’s going to kill himself on that thing.”

Next, I’m in a pew at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern. Joey’s younger brother Mikey reads from the New Testament at my father’s funeral. But he chokes up, his voice breaking, his eyes soaked with tears. Joey steps up to Mikey’s side and rests his hand on his brother’s shoulder.

Then I’m outside an Italian Restaurant in White Plains. We all just finished celebrating Lisa’s surprise 50th birthday party—organized by Joey. I say goodbye to him as I gather my family for the drive home.

Could that be the last time I saw him alive?

my rain-splattered deck
Joey’s empty Suzuki
lying on its side


Photograph by Jaskirat Singh Bawa


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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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