Sunday, November 30, 2014

Poems by Jake Schneider from Awakening 1: 11/23/14

Refrigerator Box Prophet

“The world is a washing machine
set to hot/hot, permanent press.
Now big bad wool-sock’s got little red
running shorts running hot on his heels.

Too many as in the yellow pages these days.
We can’t all come first in the alphabet, or sit tall
like a toddler on a phonebook, our jaws hanging:
hangars for incoming forkfuls.

Why is everyone developed
or developing? Better to cuddle
in the canister imagining our faces.
Exterminate the shutterbugs.

Enough one-way mirrors & streets.
Each snapshot shoots my spirit down–
I’ll snap into Dracula, whippersnappers,
send my image into hiding like a second sock.

I asked for change, but not mined from pockets.
What I got was salutary confinement.
No one to greet.             Hello.                        Hello.
My hands have hardened into cold cups.

My legs are lampposts.
My eyelashes are the frantic moths.
My ribs are gratings over the void
when the subway is passing.

This prophecy isn’t plagiarism
from some Bible, some textbook.
I’ve got a liver filtering somewhere
in there, kidneys, bile spewing.

They tell you progress is a ladder
you can climb if you’re in the mood.  Listen up.
It’s a skating pond with winter ballerinas
doing triple turns around the drowning hole.

Listen up.  It’s a train station built
like a cathedral over whole races
of humans who scoop like moles
to poke their heads out.  Do you copy?

Either I’m mute, or you’re deaf.
I want hands that know dirt.
Fingers that can darn socks,
plant potatoes, dig a grave.

My house preserves my temperature
like a thermometer.  Sometimes I wish
I were somebody’s Frigidaire.  I’d sit
in this box and await my deliverance.

This ice-box, this soap-box.
This box-car soap opera.
They think I’m a box turtle
but I’m mock turtle soup.

Enough cocoon eyes, enough necks tied.  Go on.
Attend your valley summits.  I’ve
got sweat cologne.  The bees

are my colleagues.”



by Jake Schneider
Kyrie, pote se eidomen peinōnta kai ethrepsamen
ē dipsōnta kai epotisamen, pote de se eidomen xenon
kai synēgogomen ē gymnon kai periebalomen[1]
City life is a painkiller that drains the streets
of agony, a deadened wound, an anesthetic womb
that brought us forth and shielded us
leaving an aesthetic sort of squalor,
a numb grunge and grit coloring the curb.
                                                      Did we feed you?
Until the day the key won’t turn, the card
won’t swipe, until the day you pack your desk away
and wonder how far down does the skyscraper go,
how deep can it scrape, and who would wait
to help you to your feet, to spoon the soup.
                                                      Did we feed you?
For I was hungered and ye gave me meat
I was thirsty and ye gave me drink
I was a stranger, and ye took me in
I was naked, and ye clothed me

                                                      Did we feed you?
A city is a congregation where no one is alone
and everyone’s alive, a flock of brightly colored
sheep, a crowd hurrying forward together.
                                                      Let us eat.

[1] Matthew 25:37-38 in original Koine Greek. “Lord, when saw we thee hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?” For Modern Greek pronunciation, see this YouTube video at time code 2:13:54.

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