White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
WHITE WHALE REVIEW
JONATHAN WEINERT
Jonathan Weinert's book is In the Mode of Disappearance (Nightboat Books, 2008), winner of the 2006 Nightboat Poetry Prize, and finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Recent work appears or will appear in American Letters & Commentary, Pleiades, Ploughshares, Blackbird, and elsewhere. Jonathan is web editor of the letterpress literary journal Tuesday; An Art Project.

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Jonathan Weinert

WESTBOROUGH STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL, 1971

 

June. He loses his kite in a hard sky.

Hard—a puzzle of one color.

 

There will be a storm. He knows that shine

of foul lines on the tennis courts, the green fist

 

of summer. In and out: each shot and volley

judged. His dad, in tennis whites,

 

starts bringing in the chairs. He thinks:

Not him. I’ll never be like him.

 

His kite transmits a shudder down the wire,

an unexpected call he answers,

 

certain it’s his sister calling from the black

phone on the ward. Now there will be no more

 

gliding of the planchette on the board,

their little fingers touching, pointing out

 

 

[....]


Jonathan Weinert

the bare conclusions: Ja, or Nein.

All his messages reach him in a lapsed tongue,

 

the tongue of grasses rasping in the field.

The kickball game’s been cancelled for the storm.

 

His dad calls from the doorway in a wild

green light. The kite string’s upward, slicing cloud.


Jonathan Weinert

THREE SURGERIES

 

                 i . Usages

 

Say I and you agree.

 

Say I-I and you’re off to carry out an order.

 

Say I-I-I to mourn—a public ritual.

 

What if the self were nothing

                                                         but a flint, a scarf of usages?

 

The uncut diamond of the self

The slaughtered graywolf of the self

The flimsy rickshaw of the self

 

 

 

 

[....]


Jonathan Weinert

                 ii . Subject

 

In my dream, an operation: the nauseous blue light of the OR,

 

the anesthesiologist half-asleep above his cup of frightful canteen joe,

 

flash of scalpel, forceps, scissors, as the gauze unrolls.

 

I flinch at the first incision—surprised at how solicitous

                                                                                        the hunter of the hunted

is (the hunted vixen of the body).

                                                                  Scissored flesh

gives way, exposing

 

roots and jewels, succulents and planted bone—

 

the self’s prehistory, before its many homes.

 

 

 

 

[....]


Jonathan Weinert

                 iii . Revision

 

Honoring the music,

I stop and unstop openings,

breathing through the certain holes.

 

But no, it’s not like that—

it’s bloodier.

 

Old mouths are lodged in me,

serpents’ mouths. I let them

bite and eat.

 

Or this:

I ease the blade

between two ribs,

and cut away.

 

I sing the body

renitent.

 

I tent

the wounded flesh,

digging my fingers in the slit.


Jonathan Weinert

SCRIBE

 

In my shorthand the flies

emerging from the clocks

already winged

 

cannot lick the sweetness

with outrageous tongues

nor see with their extravagant eyes

more sides than I can see.

 

In a moment the black

phone blows up on the wall.

Someone is telling me the story of a dream.

I write it down.

 

Someone is threading sneaker-lace

through holes on both sides of both my ankles

so I can ride

the bike with tiny saddle-seat

from Micmac to Lincoln for the test.

Someone is giving me directions.

I write them down.

 

[....]


Jonathan Weinert

It is as real to me as my own name,

my mother’s name, my father’s name,

what happened in the summer.

 

I know the names of every fly,

the flies that came before,

the flies to come.

I write them down.

 

My siblings,

born in time—

our languages are not the same.

But I am winged

and individual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Jonathan Weinert. White Whale Review, issue 1.2


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