Say it & Repeat; Suburban American Prayers; He’s in Landscaping
Say it & Repeat
her hard hand
took my head
she held high
by my hair I think
now you know
you do block some
of this out I
mean like anything
else you make
so much of it
up & it’s all just
or so she liked
to say as much
as it’s not a lie
though that I
know I was told
to say that I am
sick & perverted
repeat after me
fatass, she’d call me
when in turmoil
get down here & do
as I say or else
I will backhand
you: I’m a sick
& perverted good
for nothing filthy
waste of time
I am etcetera for
finding her Joy
of Sex, the book
by Dr. Alex Com-
fort in the bed-
side table drawer
in their bedroom
unreal as it is
terror to recall
my body went
stiff as a bunny
& was degraded
by the real boys
they wanted to
& would beat me
rough me fuck me
right up then
& there I am look
at you shakin like
a chickenshit leaf
no fight in you
flung back into
a concrete corner
of the arcade
limbo lower now
know how low
how low can
you go where
the skate shop pro
said mine were
junk pure junk
when I asked him
if the new black
skates with red
wheels that mom
had gotten for us
my brother & me
when I asked if
they were precision.
Suburban American Prayers
Hear my prayer right here please & thank you
for turning tony turn around to pay dirt
it seems like every time & especially when recently
I performed the recitation with rotation to try & help Melissa.
She’d lost the last ring Dave had given her before succumbing to it fully
some fourteen months from the hip hip
we’re married hooray!
party, Hudson Hotel rooftop, NYC.
What might have been contains a compos mentis I can hardly turn to
take & turn myself around to
hammy hokie poke it up act out, intone
another tony tony turn around & beg Saint Anthony & pray to what was
lost that it be found .
& sure enough, she located the ring.
They’d held it for her at Whole Foods the whole time.
I beg of you lord; please lord please.
No health problems; no trouble with the law; no ramifications
or repercussions, no consequences from my behavior whatsoever
especially concerning drugs & sex & driving & my job & all the rest.
I would surely occasion, on occasion, so to speak & should occasion allow
& everything like that, be cheers! to what’s left & my right
So be it, it’s yours so let it be, but seriously who says that?
Who does that?
Shoosh will you? Say this, say it this way start again, please
lord please, I beg of you, help me
to not have contracted HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis C
or Syphilis or Gonorrhea or Herpes or staph,
crabs, genital warts or parasites or whatever fucking venereal cum communicable disease lord please keep me clear of all of it I beg of you lord
please & thank you & how about another goes like this
(because you know how much by god I need you to please)
lord please help me to have a body better than this one is, to have instead
one like that guy there on the cover of Vanity Fair.
A protean priapic friggin phallossus he may as well be
any-fucking-one because believe me they are truly everywhere lord
so please do your best
to help me have a better body, have better
arms & legs & stomach & ass & cock & big low-hanging balls & endless perfection in
the distribution hirsute withal. Please lord please help me to have a guy like that to love fucking & feel at my best loved by this being
I beg of you, please come lord Jesus!
Join our supper & we’ll play like kids all summer
find ourselves a real fixer upper.
He’s in Landscaping
Was good with the cold hard.
Flush cash money.
Meant he’d always have a buck in his pocket.
Which is to say this landscape stretches beyond the bed of our dear Protagony
Unto hills & hummocks like Moab’s mumps in the middle of that park on Dixie
We’ll pass godswillin again & again & again
Over & under & hither & thither feral
As this cat’s asinine pursuit
Of none other than another
Sober night without
No matter the terrain, refrain:
It’s worth the struggle.
If that’s the best you can do.
Bosch Jones (J. Paul Heiner) holds a BA in English Literature & Studio Art from Oberlin College & an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. Poems (not submitted here) have appeared in The Paris Review, La Presa, IMPACT, & in the collection Blood&Tears, Poems for Mathew Shepard. A resident of South Florida, Bosch is active in community theatre & continues to write & make art.
Interview with the Poet:
Cathexis Northwest Press:
How long have you been writing poetry?
Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?
fortunately, the event happens in a continuum (polyamory d’poesie?). . .tho Wallace Stevens’s The Snow Man is certainly one among the founding firsts. . .
Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?
Marie Howe’s What the Living Do (titular poem & the book itself), CD Wright, Lucie Brock-Broido, Louise Katz, Frank Bidart, Tennesee Williams, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsburg, Terrance Hayes, Jericho Brown, Tony Hoagland, Elizabeth Bishop, John Ashbery, Hart Crane, Frank O’hara, James Merrill, Adrian Matejka, Liz Phair, Priscilla Becker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Carson, Denise Levertov, Sylvia Plath, Anne sexton, Brenda Shaughnessey, Denis Johnson, Ada Limon, Gregory Pardlo, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, D.A. Powell, Ariana Reines, Wayne Koestenbaum, Mary Ruefle, Patricia Smith, Richard Seiken, Leonard Cohen, William Shakespeare, Wallace Stevens, Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert. . . .
Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in
Reading poems gets me going, also a bit of guitar or piano, sometimes a spot of pot. . ultimately, a prolonged series of revisions over time. . .i’m feral about it: a structured discipline in the discipline eludes me & other enthusiasms oft claim the imperative. . .i like the wee hours of the pre-dawn into the sunrise & often like to let it all hang out ‘round midnight. . .I am in the practice/habit of doing my numbers like a good courtier, daily. . .times vary (& digital devices allow for a spontaneity in note-taking, etc. that is become a contributing component to my generative enthusiasms & overall poetic askesis. )
How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go?
I loved writing in form (particularly sonnets) while in graduate school & still enjoy a one-page poem. . .more often, these days, pieces take on their own structure/shape (revision, revision, revision!)
Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?
With a limbic loosening, here goes—
The finding of voice conceit (tho I get it & oft enjoy that kind of accomplished ringing of virtuosic dexterity we find in many established poets & artists). . . it’s an approach I tend to eschew, fearing a foolish consistency (or simply finding such seeking less interesting & less likely to bear the undiscovered fantastic (versus abiding plastic). . . I find it more compelling, in practice, to remain lost (open to exploration & variation & confounding of authority toward finding a brave new agency. . . maneuvers, like adoption of persona & vernacular & sight & resound & if I’m not making sense here I hope at least to confound lol xoxo. . .& there’s always Saint Ant in a pinch! Now turn around. . . wink, wank, wonk & bahbah black sheep may we yet find our own private show beau peep!
What is your editing process like?
unceasing, spanning decades in some cases (sigh)
When do you know that a poem is finished?
I dunno nuffin bout birthin no poems be done done done done, mizz scarface. . .doh!
Re me: finished, never. . .tho satisfying resolution(of which most pieces have known/seen many) is part of the practiced imperative). . .or what just feels goooooood, like a healing in the heart &/or a harrowing tone sounded, struck, duality noted xoxo