Selected Prose & Poems

All works © Jace Paul. No reproduction or use is permitted with the author’s legal consent.

front cover2From “Where You Will Find Me” (2016)
Granite & I

If you know me

(and most do not)

I have gen’ral affinity for rocks -

of the type that Mohs scaled, yes -

It's their stony immobility I like best.


"My affairs are so goddamn squalid,

while you may bear all, dark and solid,

It causes such resent in me

this disregard for entropy.

No, you cannot split caryopses

But neither is your end in boxes.”


And so the rakish squirrel misspoke on balance:

There is disgrace in meager talents.

 

America, Are You Street or Sky?

She sits on the bus.

It's the last day of a mawkish month.


One more day waiting for the handout

And her bags are threadbare


A tin of hooves for the kitty,

a pint of whole, a pork neck on mark down.


Someone down the aisle wonders

if Florissant is ashes by now.


The clouds: they see nothing. A worried boy

at home takes the day's first shot of gin


And clears the creases on the wall;

his shoes stink of bleach


but they're new again. School thinks

it matters. She'll cook the neck


and praise the sneakers, so white. The table

will welcome them as dirt does a fresh turn


and when two glasses are mostly filled with

milk, the window will flicker only once


the clouds will stay blind, the bus will roll over cinders,

and the earth will be no better

for clean sneakers walking on it.

 

Ace & Aro

there's this reporter at

the paper

she told me

that she's wanted to fuck, for years


yeah;

well did he ever get to?

she said 'no'

she’s not that kind

of girl.


i nodded sympathetic-

ally.

we should have some rum,

i advised

and she chirped

just like that

over the phone. she was

pretty small, thin, too

small & thin for me

but she wanted me anyway

i suppose, or rum


she’s fucking crazy.


5 minutes later the words are dribbling on

rationalizing her ex,

he’s a con

he’s a ripper

I don’t care.

i politely ask her to shut up

and tell me what she likes

again


sure, she says

if i’ll bring her some

ice cubes

and that’s it, i’m heading for her

place

with ice and teabags


she has a porch and meets

me on itthe kids are sleeping

and we have the downstairs

we drink the rum

and find some vodka too

she says her life is shit

this time i do care

enough

to let her finish the rum


i don’t want to be here

she doesn’t want to be here

but the worry is gone we're wrapped up now

she pins me

to the couch

the baby

coos a little

we hush ourselves a moment

til the fiend returns to his cloud.

i don’t remember where i slept.


there's no eggs for breakfast

no coffee, she’s used up her SNAP

and so have i. the baby, in his perch, can’t place

my face.


it takes a few

feeble excuses

hers, mostly

but i’m on the road home shortly

and see a bum get hit by a minivan


his guts are in the

gutter

and I feel bad for driver

don’t beat yourself up

i tell her

we've all done worse for sex or love.

"Eggshells & Entropy" Cover From “Eggshells and Entropy (2014)
Sine Qua Non

I split myself this morning
putting away knives.
I paused to let the blood scramble out,
And in one liminal minute
The light show, the fanfare, lasers and fog
Went dead, and god was goddess.

She was unconquerable again on the throne usurped
By over-endowed bulls; mighty and concordant
Behind the scenes. Resplendent in silver, silk,
Ambrosia, she offered a goblet of tears
- not blood!
for making
All things new.

As I drank she turned, and was all at once and always
A chambermaid delighted to arrange,
Prone and in minimal linen
Undiminished for all who stoke apathy.

I hoped to be a bird on her shoulder,
Giving no thought to authority,
Sold to the discipleship of possibilities.
The knives away and wound bandaged,
I went to the park and sat under an oak to wait for her call
Among the multitudes of homeless faiths.
Sonnet 2 (Schooled In)

There were twenty-one logical reasons,
To heed the trees those three weeks into March,
Learnèd evergreens schooled in hopelessly,
Attend to wasting disease in their bark.
Endangered birds keeping hope in numbers
Forage for songs; owls in humble lookouts
Listen hard for an echo to return
And a porcupine sends down hemlock scouts.
‘Neath a sturdy shield of ice, fish await,
In suspense, a new feat of chemistry.
The cubs and does will brave a hunter’s bait
While squirrels sort plastic from acorn seeds.
Watching o’er the miserables, the rain
Dowses trees, licked fingers hoping some change.

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