Oct/Nov 1998 Spotlight

Five More Poems

by JeanPaul Jenack



Sweat pools and drips in restless time; dog day
turned to dog night, with no relief in sight.
Fans rattle in the bedroom's two windows
connecting one still wind to another.

The bed sheets hang rumpled and abandoned -
limp sails awaiting a sea change, adrift
in the abyss of the horse latitudes.

We lay there back to back, barely touching.
Her elbow dusts my spine like memory:
absent of incident and hence forgotten
but for the scratching of my restless pen.

As if to break a spell she says, "the heat
of desire has its limits" - then heads
for a cold shower, laughing to herself.


Metaphysical Conceit

If in my metaphysicality
intellect and emotion do not meld:
two strangers who may not make the journey
down one road with purpose commonly held
Shall I then work to extend my conceit
and wrest with word and image toward my goal?
And if, in doing so, I fail to meet
with your approval, what then? Shall I fall
into sad disregard, a mere footnote
in a book which you discard, but half-read
whose weight along this road you shall not tote?
This is the hated fate I sorely dread:
to lie dust-jacked upon your shelf
without a chance to introduce myself.


Persistence of Music

Unto every next generation
between sweat-soaked sheets
of years, striking out
with a little night music
stolen, swiped
from the old black-and-whites.
Wheels spinning -
unspoking outward in a last flutter
of the worn-out baseball card engine -
removing the now
from the here
to end up nowhere.

This is how it happens
every time, infinity unwinding us
to die intestate, a photograph
wondering (as if we still
could) "Who got the piano?
Or the old American flyer
in the basement?"
We used to ride that thing
in figure-eights for hours
believing we -
like the music -
would last forever.



Tonight as twilight turns
I would be a sailor, and do
the things that sailors do
if I could float and not be
mistaken, with rope burns
on my hands -
an anchor weighed
too often.

To starboard I hear
the whisper of a distant seaweed voice
that sings "come, come with me
and we shall taste the sea"
before I awaken
with the tide - salt dried
on my lips by a wind change -
upon receding waters.


tom o'candy corn's song

candy corn!
gotta beg me
some o' that
dragon teeth
skeleton dance
candy corn!
not tattered rag naked man pop-
not nailed-to-the-door thanks-
giving injun
just orange-white-yellow
morning star
candy corn!
gimme gimme gimme
that night crow
flaming drake
candy corn!
halloween night
of ghosts
and shadows can't wait
summon me up some o' that
candy corn!
take two
stick 'em on
bugs bunny teeth
close the moon-book
on snowman nose carrots
hopping mad about
candy corn!
take two
stick 'em on
upside down
vampire sweet
corn syrup sucking dracula nosferatu
candy corn!
take two
stick 'em in
tom rhinoceros nose
twenty leagues
the end-o'-the-world
candy corn!
no fears here
no tricks
just treat me
to some o' that
food drink and clothing
candy corn!


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