Literature 1-28-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Joseph Rizzo

Read "We Have Cashmouth," this week's winning What Light poem, selected by poet Sarah Fox. Also, we're taking your poetry submissions for the next competition cycle: deadline is February 16.


We Have Cashmouth

It is an affliction of the sinus cavities and lower spinal tissue.
Its symptoms include abnormally low PSI
and rubberization of the extremities.

Also our jeans appear curiously distressed.

Case studies have proven the exact
shrink-rate of our
cell-to-smell ratio.

We’ve been ordered to lubricate all
gauge needles and
rechrome our exhausts.

We graciously accept
your invitation to attend an
international series of free public lectures on
green and white syndrome, blunt wrist disorder,
cauliflowering of the biceps, spatters,
pistoldick, bubblebladdering

strainways, kindways, loadhugging, spiny lips

depression of skin, burnt toecaps, hunger twangs,
pocked head, gnashed joints, braid spasms,
revulsion of the glands, blue-back burdens, whistlewit.

We shall make sure to take something for our gritty tongue lapse.
Panic of the gums has subsided somewhat.

We regretfully announce the passing of our founder and mentor,
Mrs. “Hurricane” Dwayne Caczsmarinski

the esteemed reinforcer, shot to hell

who succumbed to a long battle with brittle-brain bursitis
and advanced skepticism.


As a writer, I’m an imposter, frankly. Technically I have no credentials in this field whatsoever. I’m trained as a visual artist and musician, but organizing my thoughts in words can give me the same creative buzz. It’s that great feeling when you’ve created something and you have a record of it; that’s what I really need. Something tangible. It’s the common thread that runs through everything I make. Even though my paintings rarely incorporate text and my music never has any lyrics, I like to think my writing is an important part of my larger body of creative work.


Joseph Rizzo was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1980. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2000 he relocated to Minneapolis to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Joseph graduated in 2003 with a BFA in drawing and printmaking. He has exhibited his work in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and San Francisco. He is part of the Minneapolis-based art and design collective Labour. Joseph is also active in the Twin Cities music scene with his band THANK YOU. They are performing Feb 2nd 2008 at the Walker Art Center as part of their Free First Saturdays programming.