Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NEW! 2 poems by Jesse Nissim

Jesse Nissim

Your city with love on the benches

Where the harbor shrinks back
from its edge

Thousands of dead fish
take a nap
in the library.

Smell the harbor’s ordinary
objects, trusting us, with
all that stuff in here.

If you string them
together, will these fragments form
a recognizable mirror?

If you trust in
the frictionless

We’re all the same
down to the lawn ornaments
Christmas & Hanukkah
black and white and even
down to the lesbians.

We coordinate mailboxes in taupe
our names curled in gold.
All the same font.

Yellow stakes flag the yard’s perimeter
indicating our pests

Yes, every neighborhood has pests
even here

Where we can benefit from
the foul smell
that deadens the wonderful.


The light presses down
imitating summer
and need presses down
imitating a fire-escape
and want falls empty
unloved and alone
and bushes flop like
need imitating belief and
the church is a true
empty head alone imitating
an oven dying.

They need never escape.
Some of them like stones
sleeping under firelight.

The spying dawn
alone is light
pressing in
upon the fire escape.

I was alone and unloved light.
I was as hot as a church.
I was the dying swan. For a long time
I could not escape the fire of that swan
and little girls’ who believed in it’s existence.
The girls pressed down instead of falling
while I was imitating a stone.
When I escaped from falling. I escaped from my heart.
In my head, I was need, belief, and truth.
My head was a peculiar bush.
It flopped in an empty oven.

This poem is constructed almost entirely of lines- randomly taken and freely scrambled- from The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara, Ed. Donald Allen.

i want someday / to have a fire-escape (471)
this would mean, i think, that summer need never come (471)
and snow falls down upon / the streets of our peculiar hearts
the Seine believed it to be true / that i was unloved and alone (473)
the light presses down / in an empty head the trees / and bushes flop like / a little girl imitating / The Dying Swan the stone / is hot the church is a / Russian oven... (475)

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