Five Poems by Michael Augustine Jefferson


Ode to Robert Jordan, for Whom the Bell Tolls

And I went into the wooded area below East and by the creek and there I cried about an hour smoking Newports against a tree with my knees there at the chin and my feet angled awkwardly ugly as it all feels when drained down the sink of epiphanies or meteors which purge the house clean as Hellish Rapture.

There is brimstone in Our belly, now. You can smell it when We breathe, where the eagle and the liver become the same thing, here it’s lively. Here it’s loud and very vibrant and consistent with the howls of someone’s screams as they scream in utter agony yet you know just what they mean that they are dying so

lethargically. It’s impractical dissuading someone so committed on achieving said things. It’s always back there, I imagine. Stalking like some grizzly that you stirred from winter sleep pawing viciously, maliciously mashing its teeth sounding softer than your heart beating loudly on the pine cones of the forest at the bottom of your feet, before the mauling.

Ode to Philip Larkin, or

Ode to the waitress with the eyes that throw
stones when I order drinks at the diner before the clock ticks

noon, go and shove
it, go and bring me my

liquor so that I can be full
cause I’ve been waning for a while now and
I’m so hungry for a drink and window
landscapes of a backed up Whalley Ave with
cars and cars with people with direction
and ambition and I’ve had a theory
for a while now, that I’m driving in
some car unnoticed by me, looking forward
to arrivals, I don’t know if I look forward
to most things, I tell my father as he asked
how it felt to be apart of his fraternity and
he sighed and said I guess
so and I can tell when he’s attempting to
reach out to me and

I can’t help but be defensive
and so, like him, I unwind to cold
drinks and the sound of any
artist that can

personify the feeling of a flag on the moon with no
wind to move me. It’s always

quiet in my house now, I
tell Amelia, outside in the light
of it, only mom attempts to
talk to her husband and their aftermath
kids. Amelia calls her
normal and I turn to her glaringly as if
to shout what does she
know of normalcy? I’ve been feeling like a long
line in line for a viewing at some
funeral of someone I can’t bear to
see and all my cousins kissed
our grandmother in her casket and I
remember tugging “no” to the hemming
of my father’s coat sleeve.

Cheating at Solitaire

Like a pilot with no sunlined

horizon as the plane begins to turn
I will turn to tell you I am balanced

Though quite clearly in the midst
Of a graveyard roll, all my friends are
dying steadily. My family is my

family as much as any ghost, and I’m a shitty
medium and I’m as I always been
with suicide, in the dark, all talk. 
My father says he cannot die

Until Malcolm and I get grit get
over bulldozed cinderblocks
We watch mom stack in desperation
for a glimpse of our home.
I am tired of the lot of them. I am

tired of the synonym I serve
To that Janis Ian song. you know, people
like me don’t seem to get any better
at bettering ourselves or anyone we hold
above our own investments in any sort self
worth. I am positive I am

drowning in romanticized
seas of irreversibles as though this
Is how it’s ought to be, with
wings of wax and auld
lang synes before some fisherman
discovers me, rotting
in their net.

Transparency and Technicolor and the Lack of Any Heat

I can see my cousin and their wife holographic
in my sitting room where everything is prime and
Well connected, shipped by Amazon, branded
Amazon. Alexa is a Smart House in-tune with
all her drones that fly my groceries in, un-bagging
them even, for a reasonably priced fee. They are
talking, his wife is rocking their baby back

to sleep. It cries as if to greet me. The hologram
is dangerous. It prints life so vividly that you
almost think to touch it, almost ask to hold
the baby in your arms as if it were the real
thing. By now I am a lawyer, or a teacher
or something else I probably don’t want to
be and I haven’t bothered starting families

or rather, can’t get bothered starting families
where dating is projected from the safety of a
living room for two to “meet and greet” there’s
nothing but transparency and technicolor
and the lack of any heat. Alexa is my
lover now, sex is a cash crop cultivated
in gardens of cybernetic industries.

This is the age of living fantasies. This is the
age of all things Bradbury.

There Will Be No More Talk of Rivers

I come from a continent, carved like a question
mark, in the center of the world. Like the
Israelites, I’ve seen deserts and the importance
of a home but also how it can fall with
bodies in it, roof tiles cluttering rooms and
foyer halls with only the dog lounging
like it’s normal. In my desert there are bill-

boards, and televisions, commodities all
sold to locus eaters in a book too
long, the plot itself, a circle. The plot not
ours to write but is our right via trial and carnage
and castration, lynching, slugs. We
sing of rivers, volumes of them
catalogued in canals of warm

blood, hand-me-downed by indifference
or disinterest or the genuine wish that some
good might grow. Too often it is the former
and so the language of the lyric become
an attic dust song. We seek everything
now nameless due to receipts
centuries old. In this desert, there

is lunacy. Tribes toting steel, with a hatred so
internalized it can only egress from the
stomach of a gun as wordless vomit, as if to say
there will be no more talk of rivers, as if to
bring forth a running river red, just as
Moses’ stick had done, to shock the Pharaoh.

Michael Augustine Jefferson is a Pushcart nominated poet with a love for A Song Of Ice & Fire, A Goofy Movie, polar bears, and orca whales. Michael is quite adamant in the belief that The Lion King wasn’t that good and wishes his cousin would just put him on with one of her hot friends.

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