Thanksgiving Guilt

The days — likely the months — leading up to Thanksgiving 2020 have left a hazy tarnish on my ability to be present for my family and friends.

It started, of course, with the economic uncertainty, political instability, and alienating nature of COVID-19. But it is bigger than that, more insidious, and ultimately more profound.

The rich got richer without doing much of anything, the poor kept fighting at great expense, and the world never stopped its dizzying spin. All this while 1.4 million people across the world died and left a dolorous wake in their leaving.

Please consider: The death of 1.4 million people is, by its very nature, an abstract and impenetrable number of individual lives gone forever and an exponential number of living grief.

Everyone who survives bears a scar. Every witness who remains watches from the silver shadows of their own guilt.

While I have much to be thankful for, I can’t stop making pictures that tell this terrible story writ large on quotidian society.

And I feel ashamed of its toothsome moral: There is a dark and resolute solace in this pathological estrangement from the brothers and sisters who survive here alongside me.

The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree

“the blue cherry blossoms / on the blue tree”

‘Cherry Blossoms at Evening’ by William Carlos Williams

In the prebirth of the evening
the blue cherry blossoms
on the blue tree
from this yellow, ended room—
press to the windows
inside shall be out
the clustered faces of the flowers
straining to look in


Source: Williams, William C. “Cherry Blossoms at Evening.” The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume II (1939-1962). Edited by A Walton Litz and Christopher J. MacGowan. New York: New Directions, 1991, p. 10.

Photo: Gerace, Joe. “The Blue Cherry Blossoms on The Blue Tree.” Nov. 26, 2020. JPG.

The Song of One Hundred Thousand Chemicals Approximating Sunshine

“This is the song of one hundred / Thousand chemicals approximating / Sunshine in my hair. My lover bit / My cheek this morning.”

‘This is the Song of One Hundred Thousand’ by Ariana Reines

This is the song of one hundred
Thousand chemicals approximating
Sunshine in my hair. My lover bit
My cheek this morning. I think I’ll
Fall from one trance into the next
Might fall asleep any minute
It gets tiring making yourself look
like you’re alive while you’re looking
Hard practicing turning
Away from the shit we’re in


Source: Reines, Ariana. A Sand Book. , 2019. Print, p. 157.
Photo: Gerace, Joe. “The Song of One Hundred Thousand Chemicals Approximating Sunshine [Secaucus Junction].” Nov. 14, 2020. JPG.

On the Roof of Wannsee Villa

Bloomfield, NJ. October 2020.

with no ill intention to the artist
what the fuck were you thinking
the mangy dog and the electro-
magnetic implant
fine! but
replacing the u with the v?
what a braggadocious pile of staten island’s finest
piled up to intellectual
affidavits — i once asked allen ginsberg
should i be scared when the polish
barrister holds a luger to my temple
and demands fried bananas he said
you’ll never move to krakow
don’t fret my pet i pianeti
della fortuna
no ill intention
to moloch or the electromagnetic swing
the dog abundant and widespread
in hungry this abandoned city in the days
since the airing of ruth bader ginsburg
coordinated inauthentic leaderless lurking
evil the writer goes down the one true rabbit hole
a meeting of senior government officials
four cholinergic cherubs armed with radio
poles lit upon the roof of the confident
wannsee manor unclear
if these birds are gripped fast to the edge
of indivisible azalea branches or synaptic clefts
between bit and byte cast totally aside
countervailing rights
— unclear unclear

portrait in oblivion (isa)

Ridgewood, NJ, August 2020

she says 			i can cook vegan
she says 			savory
				nutritional yeast flakes 
				harvested for good health
our face is probably the only thing of that scale
crushed red pepper flakes
our face obsessed in its desire for duplicate
i didn't choose this sacred hardware
our battle ax-thin XXX bride
prime butch dress cascading salvo
cachaça bottle thick hairy professor
				in the window sill
				go fast,
she says					the advertisements 
to the confident			are coming to
advertisers				shake you awake

Acusar al Presidente

Hackensack, August 2020

yes 10:13 in hackensack and i am wondering
why on earth is my skin so skinny

when all the prayers say i should be greasy
my benedictions

should be known widely
how many people are even in this bolted down town

anyway if i stop with all the bolas de acero
cerveza and el gran

poeta contemporáneo maybe i’ll dry up
maybe i’ll go on that boat trip

i promised my family anyway
here’s to the good colonel

working the corner
for the wrong boxer

why fight at all the dog
lucy her coffee bean

rising in the midday sun
takes a dive into the green grass

was it right acusar al presidente
was it weather crashing down on my head

like a thug’s framing hammer
don’t even got a wallet

there’s certainly no cash
i’ll cancel all the cards

before you spend a dime
i’ve been discourteous look

up at the flying cars stare and steal
a handful of photos

of this first great fear two men
with blond pony tails

look at that lot
i should cast them out

of hell for being so official
so beautiful so dour

on this urine soaked street
i stole that photo of the dog

by the balls my dog with the coffee
bean tried to attack the man

fat man slicking himself with sesame oil
this mobile phone suggests a yellow face crying

of laughter
after with my thumbs

i type urine and sweat 🤣 that one
squeezes through the wire like a stranger

to me anyways
chopping grass the old fashioned way

the calendar says hello
with both hands it is august 1

a lens cap in my pocket
a black coin from not so long ago

i looked up mike kanemitsu now
i’m sweating 🤣 memory

passive dogs attack
the passive voice

yes 10:13 in hackensack
and i am wondering

Dear Oblivion

Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, N.J., June 2020

So much light, dear oblivion, night after night; I offered up my body. You refused. I drank. Begged, really. Said my dreams, you don’t belong here. Some countable mornings ahead, crouched in the internet’s dark corners, hands reaching into prosaic brightness, not to gather, but offer: News spreads of a virgin conception. And so much light.

Hackensack Rally to Stop Police Brutality and Racist Violence #blacklivesmatter

All photos copyright Joe Gerace, 2020 (please email for usage permission)


Hundreds gathered on a sweltering June afternoon in Hackensack, NJ, to call for an end to police brutality against people of color in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.

Organizers provided a platform for members of the crowd to step up to the microphone and share their thoughts. Many of those who spoke stressed the need for swift and definitive change to race relations in America, and the importance of community, solidarity, and voting — in local, state, and federal elections.

The peaceful rally convened from noon to 1 p.m. on Ward and State streets in Downtown Hackensack before protesters marched south toward the Bergen County Courthouse.

Uniformed Hackensack police officers blocked traffic to allow protesters to rally and march freely.

The death of Floyd sparked rallies and protests across the country and a handful of protests occurred in New Jersey over the past several days.

Paterson is Yours

cBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, April 2020
McBride Avenue, Paterson, NJ, April 2020

blood-bunny lays on false face
alone in encouraging corners

halogen burns —it is relevant to observe
spanish communists hidden in

bowling bags and electric
teeth gnawing at gates of dawn

soon we’ll all be frozen
belly of lake coronavirus

deep unremarkable remembrance of celebrity
superstition swirling around salon

breeze transfixing artificial and drunk
do i hear guitars preserving structures

of hierarchy and dominion? every authoritarian
framework has to prove it’s capable of suction

while we’re building our homes like brilliant immigrants
we sense somewhere tense pastel pulls of

new logic should be particular to development
instruments of spirit in-world — sing for poverty

then lie bricks and masks and final
immoderate stars

Jersey Pine

i've lived long enough to see phaeolus schweinitzii
 chewing the lap of this jersey pine on a walk 
 with my family during our first pandemic

i’ve lived long enough to see phaeolus schweinitzii
chewing the lap of this jersey pine on a walk
with my family during our first pandemic

to call us moist and poorly protected
would be rude but true nevermind
what i haven’t got is dirty hands and god

damnit if i know how to be selfless
among all these bottle caps and tarot cards
the bravado emptiness embitters inflames thickens

the grey launch of memory plunges seven
thousand feet into the lap of an idol
hard at work in the dry grass

the irony of course remains
we are alone leaning back in chinese
textiled seats without understanding

without compassion without hideous
perspective until we are alone photograph
-ing ourselves some distance from another drink.