Two Poems – Jonathan Dubow


far from home visiting friends who’ve become more radical
never am i such a stranger as at these moments
i could be dead it would be nothing monumental to me
at times like these i stroll back and forth
between this objectivity and that door that guards my dreams
these days everything is something along those lines

my friend was sleeping with this tantric woman
who’d just left her husband and three kids
i was traveling to see him
where he was holed up
all around us life went on assertion bragging defensiveness
and boasting forgery and greed

his dad with new girlfriend was at the texmex diner where we got breakfast
his dad paid our bill the grandma didn’t know his dad was dating
would write him out of the will he thought she should be in a home
thought it felt guilty he’d asked my friend to tell grandma she needs to
go to a home bought our breakfast and we left town
when should we live if not now
is what they say in california

in the car we talked about the relationships between other people and parents
other people and other people parents and parents
parents and themselves we agreed
it would be nice to define this relationship between anger nostalgia and insecurity
once and for all
sometimes there is a solution for this problem
with a rumor about ourselves in it that’s almost imperceptible

all around us people seemed to say
if i could only go to the place where the lone pilgrim lay
and then mistake that dream for the past

a woman in loose pants was reading ram das
sitting outside a café in big sur fingers certainly on her
temples where is security in the head? brevity
ignore her thoughts
like a mouse under the dishwasher
no end

we paced behind the cars for miles until the heavy quilt of life
and the moon itself was rifled away
all these hamlets on the freeway was how we felt
while my friend realized one who takes forever to write
only writes about grapeseeds

is this a case of parallel thought
the yellow hills of fremont glowed

we stopped for a drink
those politicians of always were on every screen
saying holy is the city on a hill whose bellybutton jesus tickles
my friend said cage
more and more i have the feeling we’re going nowhere
it’s rare that he is so mortally driven but this was one of those times



i thought i had the hypercholesterimia founder’s gene
i thought i really might have poisoned the rhineland wells
i thought i could have died of typhoid in teresienstadt
and my last thought would be music is a path to higher ground
i thought immanuel kant lived there in the alleys at night
i thought i was watching nuns walk on the malecón
all along i thought i was here but maybe i never existed
i thought i had a neighbor who had a pink room where he sold cakes
i invested some money with him that he’d never return
i thought i sold shirts off a truck in the banana fields
sometimes the way is a fire
the ants were biting
the continents were moving
i thought i learned the mysteries of success and failure in the times of prohibition
i thought i formed a syndicate with abner zwillman and joseph stacher
hauled liquor into atlantic highlands on the jean louise
i thought i was a phenomenon whose failure to become or remain full real
allowed me to figure something beyond the phenomenal
i thought through a screen of willows i’d seen women half undressed
sitting at the edge of the mikvah
and i didn’t even frighten them
they just saw me as someone who had struggled with the battered door of this earth
i thought i came out of the brush wearing a black leather jacket and leather trousers
took out dollar bills and threw them into the wind
i thought i danced on the great swamp of unconscious desire
as they say about the former presidents
the thought was even more real than the actual
even with the sorrow i have drunk
i thought i was in the farmhouse at sheryl´s
when the dahlia tubers were down there
my brain shot listening to an old country mix
fragments of thoughts
what are details plastic
i went out and it smelled like flowering trees
the air was warm and soft but it started hailing
ow my big toenail’s infected
i thought we ate asparagus and you wore a pink dress
i thought i took the bus to the park on the river
there were two very big fat rabbits
a lot of ash
when we got in this morning there was ash all over the streets
the airport was closed
bog and mud and trees with weird branches next to cow pastures and malls
i thought i took these cans of lemon seltzer no one drank that were in our basement
and threw them up in the air they burst over the diveway
and spun around blowing lemon seltzer everywhere
i thought i popped a pimple and ate the gush off the plate of the moon
i thought i was the drunk neighbors
that fought around my car til someone came out and yelled caleb cops are coming and
i’ll knock every the fuck one of you out caleb said
go on get him out of here i’m shivering you’re cold to me tonight
i thought i was at the school’s third floor windows overlooking the cemetery
perhaps you had to be there
perhaps you had to stand at those windows for hours
perhaps you had to watch the disappearing gravestone
so that something might have occurred within you
but that what has been happening in me is practically untranslatable to others
and i thought still so often to myself

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