Dislocation – A Poem by Jonathan Bishop w/ 2 images by MS Evans


Quiet soul,
        quiet but burning
burning, burning —
        do you feel this burning,
this sense of senselessness,
        this lack of direction
of this person

        who once wrote poetry,
who once dreamed of prizes,
        of interviews,
of big literary dreams?
        She shut her eyes
and jumped,
        then crashed

into the swirling ocean,
        that swirl and swill
of drink and desperation —
that need —
that causes us to grab outstretched
flesh and bone
without seeing the face

        to which it belongs.
She is here (I am here)
        in the night
(hear me)
        trying to write lines
before he comes
        stumbling in

a dulled elephant,
        a numbed snake,
and says, “I thought I told you
        to stop with that bullshit.”
As he always does. And she protests
        weakly (I am here)
but then (hear me), a cry

       from the other room —
a mommy! mommy! mommy! —
       and he, hearing this,
as he always does, says, “See?
        Go take care of your kid.”
And he leaves. Drinks more.
        And she (hear me)
stops the poem again, stops everything again,
        and lets herself die another night,
the desk in the bedroom ashed with burned selves,
        and she hopes the desk will combust,
will burst, and that she will, too,
        fly up, flaming and burning,
finally herself, finally free.

Jonathan Bishop‘s work has appeared in a variety of outlets, including Laurel MagazineBurning House PressCulture Cargo Cult, Fourth & SycamoreBoston Literary MagazineThe Arts Fuse, and Write City Magazine. His first collection of poetry, Scratching Lottery Tickets on a Street Corner, was published in 2018 by Finishing Line Press. He is a founding co-editor of Portrait of New England, a literary journal, and a co-founder of The JT Lit Review, a blog.   Tweets: @jonjosephbishop

Banner: “Censored” a drawing by MS Evans. 2nd image, Look Hard, a collage by MS Evans.

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