It’s unclear to me where we are going.
I see nothing but fog on the periphery
of the headlights, and brown leaves
swirling in a circle of snow, wind
blowing trees down, the roof crushed flat
of a neighbor’s home, men with guns
dropping deer to drive to the convenience
store to shoot a man who had robbed
them of cheese, chasing through the felled
branches, the moon in a harrow of clouds
wisping free but no sun in sight, no breeze,
nerves stitched, skin ruffled, nails sharp.
We’re coming one for the other. Don’t leave
me alone, my tribe, circle me with warm arms,
bring me into your heart where I will glare
hungrily out the window, “Let me tell you
brother don’t come in unless you want
big talk and a bullet between your teeth.”
Sheer idiocy of this cascade and cavalcade,
this crescendo that never ends, a mushroom
cloud, consequences blooming skyward
before falling, a wave of fire and rubble,
a fury unabated by love or circumstance,
reaching up to the light finding none.
Jon Frankel is an independent poet and novelist who lives in Ithaca, New York. In 2018 he retired from Cornell University, where he worked for 27 years shelving books in the graduate library and then as a book mover. Writing as Buzz Callaway he is the author of Specimen Tank, (Manic D. Press, 1994). In 2005 he began work on a multi-volume science fiction saga called DRIFT. The first two volumes are GAHA: Babes of the Abyss (WT Press, 2014) and The Man Who Can’t Die (WT press, 2016). In 2020 WT published Isle of Dogs: Part One, the third volume of Drift. Other volumes in the series are forthcoming. Jon has written and published poetry for over thirty years and teaches private students and workshops in Ithaca, NY. In 2018 he participated in 36 Transitions a multimedia project with visual artist Craig Mains and musician Billy Cote (Madder Rose). He was part of the Cascadilla Group of poets and published poems in the group’s collection Tracing the Path (Vista Periodista, 2003). His poem A Man was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He recently provided a poem for artist Bill Liebskind’s (forthcoming) 2021 collection of Covid Mask paintings. His poetry and essays can be found on his website, lastbender.com. Jon is married and has 5 children. He is currently at work on Volume 4 of Drift and a memoir about traveling to Vietnam during the pandemic.