Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Tuesday poem #495 : Ben Jahn : GRAPHITE




all that’s required for social life now is to repeat something heard or read or seen* / in the last twenty-four years I’ve seen vija celmins’ oceans and deserts reproduced in print / on screens / that is / mediated / reduced // after so many tv talk therapy scenes / I think my first-ever session might be like meeting an actor in real life // boxy appliances / heavy as safes / tipped off the bridge in ridding fits / jut from the mud instead of choppy water to no horizon // celmins said of her galaxy drawings / you may think they came from lying under the stars / for me / they came out of loving the blackness of the pencil // the sight of waste normally submerged exposed by low tide makes me open my mouth and issue a sound / a long conglomerate vowel / I’m not sure what the noise is for / what it means / it’s like a test pattern / static / a tune-up / plaintive and mundane / a hum or moan / to other motorists I’m sure I seem to sing




Ben Jahn’s work has appeared in Fence, Tin House online, ZYZZYVA, McSweeney’s, and The Santa Monica Review. He received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in fiction, and his story, “Reborn,” appeared in The Paris Review as the winner of NPR’s Three Minute Fiction contest. He lives in Richmond, CA, not far (but usually upwind) from the Chevron refinery. He teaches English at Contra Costa College, and spends his summers traveling with his longtime partner and her kids. For infrequent updates, go to benjahn.com 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

* Brian Fawcett, Cambodia

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