PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


Copyright © 2011 Pirene's Fountain.


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Jake has read poetry daily since being introduced to the modernists his freshman year at UW-Madison. His 4th year of medical school he finally had some free time to dedicate solely to writing, and he's currently making his first attempts at being published with the fruits of those labors. He writes with Kenneth Koch's advice in The Art of Poetry in mind, and A.R. Ammons's statement that "a poem is a walk."



The desert, the sun is king and the stars
his court. They watch as the wind
with hammer and chisel
chips the dunes for the king’s pleasure.

The camel meanders through, a man
on his back who wonders if
he can stick in a straw and suck
from the hump. The man at night is bored

by the conversation with the fire. He abandons
the Bedouin camp as if tipsy with an empty glass
for the bar. He stares up at it, The Milky Way,
the bottles on their bottom-lit shelf, mirror-backed…

Slouching in the back with friends,
they pass around a pair of Blue-Blocker sunglasses
and sheepishly, hashish-blown, snigger,
their cab to Atarot Airport a lectica. The curtains close

on the homeland for him
in three blinks: encores: he bows
to the applause of an appreciative crowd
of skeletons, fleshy-palmed claps, not clacking.

Chicago. Summer and a weekend trip
with his mom and little brother.
Their cabbie turns around to face them,
African with sun-familiar skin,

his cheek-peaks gleam like fresh apples, and
in over-stressed accents he says, “Jacob
and Nathan: those are very good, Biblical names.”
His mom politely nods with a smile

checked by her  
pondering the Nathan story none of them
remember. They travel north along the shore
of that Great Lake, a seagull perched on a building

watches. The sun, to his annoyance,
watches, then turns his attention back
to the lake and the sandy beach.
He’s quite pleased with what the wind is doing.