Poems by J.J. Blickstein

for T. S. Monk

Monk put an apple on his head
the notes were superstitious
gathered in his knuckles &
the hairs of his face.

High noon in the orchard.

He paced the floor like a small general
His feet tore the parchment on the floor
He disregarded the fires in his room &
fondled the jungle on the brim of his hat.

Things burned without smoke
The fire in the red drapes was as pure as milk
& soft as a bird. He squeezed out
the words from between his teeth

The words circled the room like small airplanes
diminishing the echo in the fire
adding time & perspective to
the flaws in the room.

He muttered something about depth
& distance, railroad tracks, the
great flood. He rearranged his lapel
& the furniture, tearing the heart out of the floor.

He pulled some stones out of his pocket
got on his knees, called them notes,
made a path from the door to the piano
on the wall. He coddled & spoke to each stone

like a wounded bird. The apple rolled across
the floor, he smiled at it & stepped
on the fire at his feet.