A Haiku

My mirror shatters
and what most clearly matters
remains to be seen.


You and Me

Some sins do not offend Our Lord –
in fact with mine, I think He’s bored.
But sadly though, I must report
that yours are of a different sort.
They constitute the worst offense.
Your punishment will be intense
and last through all eternity –
how glad I am that I am me

and, truth be told, that you are you!
What more is there that I can do?
My every effort, you have spurned
and to me now, your back is turned.
Small wonder that you cannot see
the depth of my humility.



Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.

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13 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    I started writing a response to your poems and this is what came out:

    Dear Joe,

    I’m twice as humble as you are
    My sins, like yours, do not offend
    I’m more self-righteous, too, by far,
    But self-esteem is good, my friend!
    And how much better off you’d be
    If you were only more like me!

    Although your second poem clearly belongs in the “humor” category, I think that Evan should create an additional new category for it called, “Ouch!”

    As for your haiku, I find it to be as profound and inscrutable as a Zen koan!

    • Amy Foreman

      Yes–an “Ouch!” category, for sure James! Your poem and Joe’s go quite well, hand-in-hand.

      We are all probably familiar with the parable, but it bears repeating here, and may have been the inspiration for this poem, Joe?

      “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’

      “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (from Luke 18)

  2. Karen Darantière

    I always take great pleasure in reading new poems composed by Joe Tessitore. They’re a moment of joy in my day. Thank you!

  3. Martin Rizley

    I like the wry, satirical tone of these poems, that highlight how prone we humans are to be highly critical of others´ faults while minimizing and excusing our own. I agree with James and Amy that the second poem packs a punch which puts it in the “Ouch!” category.

  4. Mike Bryant

    Self deprecation is the best form of humor… I don’t know why, but this reminds me of a poem my dad often recited:

    How ugly I are,
    my face is no shining star.
    But I don’t mind it,
    ‘cause I’m behind it.
    It’s the folks out front that get the jar.

    I love the extra beats in the last line…

  5. Christina

    Thank you, Joe, for a good laugh at the end of a bad day! Superb!

  6. C.B. Anderson

    Way to go, Joe! You have found your voice, and your voice has found its way to our eyes and ears.

  7. Gregory Spicer

    Toss me into the Tessitore fan club as well, If you’ll have me.

    Like the Honorable Mr. Tweedie I read and wrote…thusly,

    It’s reciprocity’s mirror
    Of alternate realities
    Which gives the glance that guarantees
    To make this dear life clearer,
    And the portal between the two
    Is the wavelet surface ripple
    Showing, like a participle,
    What we should or should not do.
    But if to this a man is blind
    His soul will ever steep in hate
    And his definition most unkind
    Of what is, and what is not great.
    It’s the golden rule to unbind
    Great apes from an unkind fate.

    • Joe Tessitore

      Of course I’ll have you Gregory. I’m glad you’re here.

  8. David Watt

    Both poems are witty and highly entertaining.
    “You and Me” will stand the test of time because it holds a mirror (not the shattered kind) to human shortcomings.


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