Two Poems by Jason Abbate

These two poems by Jason Abbate invoke our restless relationship to the past, exploring whether or not it’s possible to clearly see where we are or where we’ve been…

by: Jason Abbate

Fog 101

Little cyclops,
How many shoulders do you owe to the fog?
Not to morning fog burning the nerves off of
New Jersey mountain tops but 
To the dark thick romance of reality,
To crust that slurps up doubts and bodyguards,
To fog that cooks your feet into
Bayonets, cracking the distance into
Tiny turbines of regret?

Like an immigrant smearing his socks 
Across a bus station floor, your thinking cap
Can’t argue with the third law of paradise.
Your cherry beast solitaire 
Buckles in the balcony,
Windpipe wet with dragon breath, 
Tongue drunk with spies.
Infrared postcard from a land
Where heat hasn’t rippled 
The surface in years.
Were We in Graceland?

"This is what it's come to,"
he complained as he smoked an
extra menthol in the station wagon,
"a pilgrimage to remember owning
what was never ours."

It was the house all right.
The porch bent like a finger,
beckoning the details 
they left behind.

As they drove back into
the mush, she reminded
herself that he wasn’t the first
of her sailors to succumb
to the quake
of aging innocence.
The darkness tasted like a jungle
of Sundays.

They came
to bargain
for their incisions.
They came
to prove
life is painfully brief 
and mercifully 

If the lord cajoles 
his creations 
with silence 
and dynamite,
he does it 
how much 
to have
to crawl,
and grace means
carving your cellmate's
nickname into time's 
bloated hide.

Jason Abbate lives and writes in New York City. His work has been included in publications such as Red Rock Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Black Heart Magazine, Subprimal and pif Magazine. He is the author of Welcome to Xooxville

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