Jeremy Schmall    

 

The mind moves

 

as though fastened
to a donkey cart.
Dirt fills my lungs.
Where do I place
my trust? “Whatever we do
is a remedy.” Clay
churns with hot blood.
Heroes grope
beneath my bed.
This is an occasion
marred by deference
to what we’ve recognized
as true. The president
is dead. I need to wash
my pile of dishes
while I smoke a cigarette
won’t that look cool?
Little plastic
bag of carrot sticks.
A silent eternity in the kitchen
after she.
My list of complaints includes
the flesh. The miracles
the miracles have hanged
me!
My big white belly
in the courthouse rotunda.
I watch the people pass.
Each victim. Each instigator.
At the whim of what mercy?
My breath run out. Glass jar
to collect my copper
coins. The filter today
is wrong hues. Unbearable contrast.
But I have not yet
lost my taste for this.
The guts can sing. Only
the guts can sing.

 

Walls tempered

 

my disquiet. Hallways opened onto wide
                          unfriendly spaces.
Every egg cracked
in a slightly surprising
but not unexpected way.

                  Hard times
                  scrubbed the workweek.
                  Leaves bit
                  through sunlight.
Out West,
I don’t know,
                  something happened.

I would like to say it mattered.

I am not
                  strictly speaking
totally prepared here.

The sensation is that
of falling
                  in the fourth round
         against an underdog.

I should tell you these aren’t precise measurements.
These aren’t your mother’s baked goods.

Let’s just move on.
Mop the kitchen. Cut the hedges.
Damage the seniors. Curse at a half
                          pound of white flour
                             atop the fridge.

Liquor restores
                                  & denatures
                          the evening.

The promise of unity
         divides the crowd              

An obscure amendment
to every situation
                  tempers my enthusiasm

The program director
                  takes my handshake
in her blouse
                  & whispers
about the death
of the family

This is not a terrible thing
         I reassure

 

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Jeremy Schmall is the founder and co-editor of the Agriculture Reader (X-ing) and author of “Jeremy Schmall & the Cult of Comfort” (X-ing). He lives in Southeast, MI.