Winter 2013 - THE POTOMAC

Two Poems

   Jesse Wide

American Romantic

A man stands
at the Savannah Town Hall Meeting.
He is tattooed and pierced.
He claims the right to smoke.
Because he works 55 hours a week,
he says naturally he spends much time in bars.
It is his choice he says.
Isn’t this the American romance—
arguing the right to hurt one’s body,
even to want it?
To him, there is no truth but feeling,
no peace but the irritable bar-top.
He smokes out his evidence of soul.
I wonder what golden and silvered nostalgia
he fights for.


Book of Hearts

I read it every night in bed
under a dusty lamp,
hoping for pictures, diagrams
that take you through
the corridors of its weakness
or a how-to guide that reveals
the possible ways to prevent
the heart of chemical explosions,
the marble-hearted heart,
the heart splintered with sailboats,
the soggy-caked heart,
full of sugar and proteins,
the fire-scarred heart of lover
but the book of hearts is made of words
describing the sickness
and its methodology of ailments.
If I read too far into the night,
I start to bleed. With a deep red
streaming down my face, I call
Emily. I say, I’m bleeding again.
She says, shut the book
and go to bed. I say, okay, but
I am going to rewrite the book of hearts;
I’ll give it to you.

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