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