A Certain Law By Pascal
By: Jonathan Jones
Summer conversation at
a fountain full of perfect
You can taste the marijuana in the air
warmth of beer in these voices
I remember the first time
I tried it, thinking of Lennon’s voice
and how it was easier to pretend
to be a Beatle than admit the whole
experience was more or less
Being stoned is nothing like being stoned.
A girl with long black hair
is nothing like the night,
where it would no longer be possible
to claim in good faith your face
reveals the truth about
a certain law by Pascal,
where he proves how pressure delivers
in the fluid mechanics
of an enclosed space.
Jonathan Jones lives and works in Rome where he teaches at John Cabot University. He is also about to complete a PhD in literature at the University of Sapienza, and has a novel 'My Lovely Carthage' forthcoming in the spring of 2020 from J. New Books.
"This poem was written in Rome around 2014 or thereabouts. I’d go out for a walk in the evening and sketch things down, not thinking in terms of any particular poetic form, but more how various images loosely hung together and began to cohere organically as I experienced the city.
In this poem, I was trying to capture the idea of exclusion, the feeling that comes with not being completely conversant in a foreign language or set of emotions, and about the idea of memory as a form of dislocation rather than familiar means of navigation; a kind of muted leverage grounded in a constant misrecognition of certain moments, the past, different relationships, like a feeling that comes almost like waking up from a dream."