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Four poems by Jacob Russell

Dog With His Keen Ears
Passyunk Between Morris and Tasker

Puddle after three days rain
bark split and peeling base of tree

under the street
under the skin
Grins in reflected light
there’ll be no green buds this year he says
the way death does on bright spring days
so quietly
you think no more
than passing clouds

not even that dog
who stops to drink

with his keen ears will hear him
when he calls

The Exponential Self Perambulates

Three of us there were went out
like candles, like hunters after the wolf
like nothing but ourselves ourself
our different ways
three one says there may be more but less
I doubt

thinking of breakfast, one
watching passing traffic, two
asleep & circumnavigating inner planets, three
or looking for lost keys
the rest
thinking of crisp thin slices of radish on buttered bread

keep coming back to that one does
the rest ignore this hunger at our peril

others preferred to water the garden
to remember
smell of spring rain
forgotten lovers
leaves damp with must

gravity you see
has no weight in dreams
that one will simply have to walk, no cash for cab
keep in mind that if one has to pee all do
while having sex
was always a powerful stimulus
to wander, swimming underwater
we were not about to answer the phone

as you suspected all along it’s the radishes
that will pull it all together in the end

how cool to tongue, how sharp to bite
& when its time to do the dishes
time to go

to one and all

Good night!

Life Sentence: Mill Creek
(… but one of many, once pristine watercourses that run
as sewers under the streets of Philadelphi

Beneath the street
a running stream — no more

through forest
owl & wild

Haven’t I spoken before of the sentence
imposed on us by the idea

of the sentence

running not quite free
(always downhill
preferring valley to

periodicity theodicy closure

what comes next

given only a single opportunity
to demonstrate the difference between

the fear of death the will to live

infolding of waters
return of the sacred


on the sidewalks
the storm sewers

gaping maws

United Workers May Day 2KX

The angel in the painting sprouts unconvincing feathers
wings that have no place
in the anatomy of pleasure

Doomed by gravity
before we get off the ground

Feather found in Baltimore
attached by sash

transformed a branch
my cane
my leg together
held by pins and screws

A shaman’s shtick!

The trick
to add

and not subtract

feathers beer can tabs keys
to kingdoms lost

the stuff
we leave behind
that doesn’t fit


by sax and drum and brass
along the streets of Baltimore

by labor led


© Jacob Russell 2010

I live and write in South Philly. In the past year I’ve published work in dcomP,  Criiphoria 2, Conversational Magazine, Connotations, BlazeVox, Scythe,  Battered Suitcase, Clockwise Cat, Apiary, Fox Chase Journal,  Connotations,  and Pedestal.  Links to my published poetry and fiction can be found on my blog, Jacob Russell’s Barking Dog.

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