Nurserymen and Psychedelia

A poem by Jake Sheff


Encyclopedic hands reach
to reassess squat and woody
cycads. Branchless plants

embrace fingers in recesses
questing for meaning and
other pests. Struck by ugly

pleasure’s naked structure,
collectors pay high prices
for loves like leaves sprouting

from no trees. (Cycads generate
heat for male cones to repel
insects toward a more temperate,

fervent sex. Harvest trickles
relative to nature’s truckloads
of relaxed approaches.) New

York City nurses doctors
stalking neurotoxic and self-
similar geometries at home;

garment-shredding spikes are
brushed like hair, loosening
deep time’s translucent hour.


Jake Sheff is a major and pediatrician in the U.S. Air Force. He is married and has a daughter and three pets. His current home is the Mojave Desert. Jake’s poems have been published in Marathon Literary Review, Jet Fuel Review, The Cossack Review, and elsewhere. He has published a chapbook: Looting Versailles, available from Alabaster Leaves Publishing. He considers life an impossible sit-up, but plausible.

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Night over Lower Manhattan

A poem by V. St. Clare


The paved beige stretched over, beneath

The careless sky, didn’t you see the street

Ran with cheap beer and perennial philosophy?

 

When that poor sod couldn’t even shuffle his way to work

Amid the signs and sights of this cold city

 

Nero’s circus wasn’t always round, and when it was there was far more blood.

I knew. I know. A thief in the night

The uncarved Wall stands between me and the street

He’s pocketing here and there, this and that, beast and birthright

 

But nobody told you he could climb; everyone at this open-air party

Sulks and skulks and trudges the timid notion that even Heaven plays

 

In tune with those double-dealers that straddle the sidewalks, selling

Souls and organic salads and plastic-wrapped theodicies.

 

Ninety-eight ways to go out with a bang in the televised jungle,

But you’ve stuck it to him, haven’t ya?

 

Our supple bodies stuck to the storm drains

A trillion lives and miles disgraced by everything under Heaven,

 

And among toils and boiling Heads that roll and rage below the quiet stars,

I’ve cast my vote to the thoughtless wide,

 

the careless Sky and the barren streets