Jeremiah Gould

An Opening


Until somebody gets hurt

you may or may not be

in a game. I bite my lip

and see blood. I feel faint.

The neighbors see me

but do not watch.

Watching betrays intent.

You may or may not be

uninterested. I bite my lip

and can't see blood. The effect

has worn off somewhere

and is felt there instead.

This may be a game

the neighbors watch

me lose. When I call,

you have already formed

a response. The worst kind

of opening: both of us refusing

to make the move wrong.













There is a sea.

You are standing

in it, stomach full

of salt water. You

wreck. Salt is spilling

from your holes.

White lines the rim

of your lips, the shelf

under your eye.

You took things from the sea

and it wants them back,

is taking them back slowly,

in waves. The sea works

like a stomach churning

against the walls.

A hurricane is bearing down.

You wanna fight it,

blacken its one good eye.











from Future Conversation


                 At the airport terminal

a number of undercover mystics

practice mediation. They sit still

and silent for hours. Passer’s by  

mistake motion for proof of life

and decorate the inert figures

with knickknacks, occasionally

crown them with ridiculous hats.

Before you ask, of course

they are constantly robbed. The

idle crowd like it’s some kind of

show. A few confused tourists

place coins in the criminals’

palms, but most of us know

better. There are no serious

suspects, just persons of varying

interests. That’s just the type of

year it is: everyone passing time

while their wings are stuck in

the air.  











from You Haven’t Met Y’rself Yet




            Today I glimpsed a line

                                     of crows levitating

                        off a telephone wire.


            I dare you to deny that

                                    their bones are hollow


            or they’ve mastered flying

                                    without flapping a wing.


                        Levitation is merely finding    

            a surface to push against.








            When you watch a flock expand

                                    and collapse itself,


                        do you see birds

                                    or holes in the sky?


            I saw the image of your face

                                    in the scatter-shot of pepper


                        spilled on the table.


            Or a flock of holes

                                    where your face could have been.








            I suspect the crows

                                    sense one is absent from the flock.


                        Each hollow body open

                                    like a conduit.


            The sky is a growing rift

                                    between wind-filled wings


                        and flight bleeds into it like a heart.








            The flock wheels around

                                    the bleached clock tower

                        in the square--the pin


                        of a compass--searching

                                    for the bearing. They locate it,









            I wake in the middle of the night,

                                    the room wheeling ‘round.


            I try hard to provide my bed

                                    a surface to push against.


                                    Achieve levitation,

    but not a heading in sight.