Narrative Poetry

Lonely Joe

Living the reclusive life

Mark Tulin
2 min readDec 1, 2023


Photo and edit by Mark Tulin

Lonely Joe stares from the window,
careful not to be seen,
with two old beagles,
Sam and Max by his side.

He lives a reclusive life,
cloistered in his small one-bedroom,
fully aware of his secret obsession —
keeps his door locked,
along with life’s disappointments.

He has always been a loner,
watching others
instead of engaging,
dreaming instead of doing,
living an illusory life
inside an apartment
with a letter dangling from its door.

He gives a nickname to each tenant.
He holds them in his imagination,
where they are protected
in the darkness of his soul,
the yearning of his heart.

The woman above,
he calls Flirting Flora,
who wears short skirts
and has a new boyfriend
every other month.

Down below
is the Surfer Dude,
who waxes his board
and puts on his wet suit
before riding the waves.

Another tenant is nicknamed
Ichabod Crane
because he’s tall and creepy
and leaves late at night
like the man of Sleepy Hollow.

And then there’s the old widow,
who has three Persian cats,
who bakes cookies
for her grandkids
on their Sunday visits.

Lonely Joe turns his TV low.
He seldom leaves the house,
only to take out the trash,
pick up the mail,
or walk Sam and Max.



Mark Tulin

I escaped a therapy career to follow a dream. Poetry, Humor, Sexuality, Doodler, and Fiction —