Daily Archives: January 22, 2011


“Surface Beauty (Chilean Miners’ Request Before Rescue) ” by Jacob King

Shampoo and shoe polish
that's all.
Just wanted to look presentable
for families
who have spent two months
teetering between hoping and mourning.

Just wanted to look good;
leave horror in the dark
out of reach of their children;
that's all.

One, they called
The Runner,
jogged through tunnels daily
to stay fit.
Another collected stone souvenirs
in his lunch sack.

The most stable
were rescued first
intentionally chosen
because they were least likely
to fall apart
if the rescue
failed.

The less stable
were left in the dark
a little longer
guarding their humanity with
shampoo and shoe polish
that's all.

“Coal Shovel and Coffee Mugs” by Jacob King

I shift sludge
into frozen mounds
with an old coal shovel
that has belonged
to our house
much longer than we have.

The blade scrapes
against the pavement.
I wonder how often
this sound has roused
drowsy neighbors,
reminding them of mutual obligation.

First, the telling clank
against the iron-clapped
cover of the coal chute;
Now, the raspy clamor
of ice reluctantly yielding
calls other men

still warm inside
to make ready the coffee mugs
for sharing at the sidewalk.
When the work is done
we will stand
belonging.

“Elegy to a Wasted Morning OR Going Nowhere” by Jacob King

I have:
Name,
Social Security Number,
Date of Birth,
and Incident ID Number
(by the way: what the fuck does
"Incident ID Number" mean anyway?)

I lack:
Username,
Password,
PIN,
and Previous E-Mail Address

I offer:
Current E-Mail Address,
Mother's Maiden Name,
First Pet's Name,
High School Mascot,
Blood type,
and as much patience as I can muster
(which admittedly is not much)

And there is
NOTHING
that the
Customer Service Representative
can do for me!

Her Manager
is equally
inept;
leaving me to question
whether or not her eulogy
will be recorded
for training purposes.

“Falling in the Girls Room” by Jacob King

Young girls
fall into the arms
of each other
long before daring
to be handled
by men.

They fall
into their roles:
Delicate and Dynamic.
I've seen each taken too far:
silent, slender girls
whose tongues
flick and falter
on command
and daughters turned sons
who hit like men.

Eventually,
when the wrong words fall
from the wrong mouths,
the delicate ones
hit the tile-covered concrete
hard.
Then, high cheekbones fall flat
against soft hands
hard-clenched
into knuckle-tipped fists.

After the attack
the room falls silent.
Then, their tiny bodies rise,
pawing at the rounded, slippery sinks.
hobbling up, they find
battered faces
reflected in cold, polished mirrors.

There they count:
chipped teeth,
faded white scars,
and fresh bruises –
how often they’ve fallen

in love.