Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine



Michael Dumanis

Two poems



All the Greatest Stories Ever Told

Once ran a carnival
just east of Onset —

after the fire,
he was out of monkeys.

Once laughed so hard
he fell out of a train.

Once laughed so hard
he thought his face would shatter.

The figurines Once used
to shudder near

began to pass
for doubles of his mother.

His mother’s thick fingerbones
squeezing his own.

The spondee Black Night
whispered into his body.

World hasn’t had
a lover more demure.

Locked the knives in a drawer.
Only seldom threw vases.

Said, can you take me
to your bat cave, baby.

Said, can you help
unwrap this lollipop for me.

Word of his fistfight
with one tipsy roustabout

reached Marblehead,
or so he liked to fancy.

Mercy have mercy et cetera,
Once did not say

on the night he broke down
in the glowing casino.


Rookie

Sadly, I came upon
more than one Greene Street.

Sadly, I tailed
the all-wrong Mr. S.

I would have done.
I plotted to have done.

Forgot that order mattered.
Mixed up days.

I swear I did not mean
the knife to slip,

the slip to give,
each fruitcart to turn over.

Did not intend
the epileptic fit

in the hushed theater.
Am so sorry for.

And swear to God.
And was so whisper-close.

And then I wasn’t.
Crouching in the Den

of Mirrored Surfaces,
beside myself,

I found myself
unable to discern.

Mistakes were made
with pupils, fingertips.

A half-assed grope.
A fondle. I grew fond,

I came to fall for you,
must go now. Bearing,

like an old steamer trunk,
these bouts of breathing,

I am in no position
to stay put,

even in wartorn Milwaukee.
In cotton candy Beirut.

Even in Krakow,
an affectless climate,

the jukebox won’t cease
playing polkas.




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