POETRY MONDAY: May 3, 2010: Jay Rubin

POETRY MONDAY:  May 3, 2010

Jay Rubin

I’m pleased this month to introduce Jay Rubin, whose poems have appeared widely in the past few years, in such publications as Blue Earth Review, Rosebud, Prague Review, Poetry South, and The Poetry of Relationships.  He teaches writing at The College of Alameda in the San Francisco Bay area and lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.  He is also the founder, editor and publisher of the all-poetry literary journal, Alehouse (www.alehousepress.com), an enterprise about which  his  comments in a recent interview might be of special interest to our readers.  “Serving as an editor, after years of writing poetry, is like a long-term psychoanalysis patient becoming the psychiatrist.  It’s a whole different game when you sit on the chair across from the couch.  The  whole world opens up, and it changes you – and your poetry.”

                                                         Irene Willis
                                                         Poetry Editor
Home Sick
—for Robyn Aronson

My mother rolled in the old black-&-white
Brought in a table, a sandwich, some soup
She put her lips to my dry forehead, loose
Hair tickling my nose, seducing a sneeze
My temperature was ninety-eight degrees
Still—achy, chilled, I stayed home from school
I couldn’t drink a thing, and thoughts of food
Unglued my stomach; I’d have rather died

Of course, I wasn’t really sick—not ill
Not suffering some virus, not the flu
—Only the lesson that all fools learn
The cruel definition of the verb to jilt
That a quick, fickle grin is common proof
That the shiniest hope, unroped, will burn


Where your father smokes, jokes
In a cloud of coarse men
Their light laughter lingering
On the words, A boy! A boy!
You float like fog, mist down the hall
Photos of your rheumy eyes
Your quiet room, your napping dolls
The starched skirt of a nurse

No, no, she says, Be a good girl
But tiny fingers turn a knob
Press, the hinges squeak

On her bed, her hair a mess
Your mother winces, shifts and sighs
Your brother nesting at her breast

from Blue Earth Review
         —after Justice, after Vallejo

On the day that I die,
white doves will fly from their cages,
filling the sky with fireworks,
chasing away the rain.
The women I’ve known
will come out from their homes,
join hands in a ring, dance and sing,
till my memory loses its shadow.
On the day that I die,
my brother will wake from a nap,
light a smoke, then drift back to sleep.
My mother and father will wash
their hands in a stream of water
poured from a pitcher on the porch; 
then my mother will pick up the telephone
while my father returns to the yard.
On the day that I die,
my unborn brothers and sisters
will rise from the bottom
of a clear blue swimming pool,
breaking the surface like champagne
bubbles, effervescing the air.
My wife and my son will share a wink
take a hike to the top of Mt Tamalpias,
unleash the terrier and let her run
with the flocks of migrating geese.
On the day that I die,
consonants and vowels spelling my name
will separate like atoms in steam,
each floating off alone to find
a new vocabulary.  Not even
my tombstone will mourn.

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One Comment on “POETRY MONDAY: May 3, 2010: Jay Rubin”

  1. IPLSF Shakes Up LitCrawl at Casa Bonampak « International Poetry Library of San Francisco Says:

    […] (“Obituary”, from Blue Earth Review; http://internationalpsychoanalysis.net/2010/05/03/poetry-monday-may-3-2010-jay-rubin/) […]

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