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Jeffery Hermann

The Mind Is a Moment

Who's There?

Dream Jobs

Why are We So Beautiful I Wonder Sometimes and then I Remember the Host-Parasite Relationship

Meanwhile

The Mind Is a Moment

I know worms are not rewards for robins 
I know nature makes everyone 
work for it. Nature works like a puzzle.
Pieces turn up unexpectedly
when you vacuum under the couch.
It’s only a corner of pale sky, but
it’s important. Paul Valery and Mallarme
might be talking in circles when one says
to the other, The mind is a moment
in the response of the body to the world.

Like my kids making themselves dizzy.
They want chocolate milk for being beautiful.
They want it in oversized cups.
We’re missing pieces just sitting around 
the house at the end of a day.
I’m reading a book with my son,
one I’ve read many times myself,
about a sane man living in a mental hospital.
In the end they take away his mind 
so no one can use it anymore.
I cry for him every time. Look closely,
and we see we don’t know what we’ve done 
to deserve the people we love. We see 
something we didn’t notice at first: not just sky
but the feathery edge of a wing we set in place
to picture the whole animal.


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Who's There

Anything could be true downstairs
when you wake at 3 a.m.
Your ghosts are in the kitchen 
It feels like someone 
is climbing the stairs in the dark 
Your wife could be falling out of love 
with you right there in her sleep
It’s so peaceful not knowing 
the names of stars
Just letting 
them send their old light
straight down 
to your window
of all places
and then sometimes it’s
apparitions and the appliances 
The nightlight sends its love 
It only goes to sleep itself 
once my breathing has a rhythm 
The WiFi blinks giving the house a hum
The TV asks if I’m still watching 
The ghosts are waiting for us
to see something beyond 
their translucency I’m trying 
to ask only fundamental questions
I’m trying to keep my eyes 
open the whole time


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Dream Jobs

Door-to-door dream analyzer
Dream machine repair technician
Nightmare interrupter Dirty dream
delivery 30 minutes or less
Dead-mother-dream therapist
Dead-father-dream diminisher
Dream catcher for the New York Yankees
Someone who touches you gently
on the shoulder and smooths your hair
to calm you in troubled sleep
The person who carries you still
dozing from the couch to your bed
who removes your shoes
your overclothes

Actor Pilot Jungle navigator
with maps and machete
veins full of dengue
Writer Lead guitarist Firefighter
who douses your burning roof
with water putting out the flames
though not the apparition
of smoke the smoldering
illusions you’ll always carry¬†
Vagabond journalist who one day
becomes news anchor Hotelier 
Captain of an unsinkable ship
crossing a frigid sea and pulling safely
into port ahead of schedule all passengers
waking in the morning to sun beaming
from the portholes and onto their faces
across their possessions draped
without care about their rooms


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Why are We So Beautiful I Wonder Sometimes and then I Remember the Host-Parasite Relationship

one animal slowly feeding off another
The insect world is like that, or those isopods 
who make a home in the mouth of a fish where it feeds 
in safety after eating and replacing the fish’s tongue 
Is one hunger really as noble as another?
They say don’t think of the world as a coin 
We are not naive or not naive. It’s a scale not 
a switch. Some people have made love in a glade
on a blanket under an oak tree, others just on the couch
Why are we so beautiful there with our well-worn pillows 
our thoughts after turning over and over: What happens next?
What worries are coming for us or tapping from the inside? 
Sex is like a rainforest with its duplicity of shadows 
and flowering plants. The humid air between us
Some moments are alive with noises it’s hard to recognize 
and other times it’s quiet: Our voices are still, our eyes 
scan the canopy like the secret part of us understands the world 
and does not want to be discovered 


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Meanwhile

Yesterday, against the window, the rain
Afterward, in the tree, the sparrows
Just now, at the mirror, your reflection
Meanwhile, downstairs, the children
Tomorrow, in a notebook, the details
Later, downstairs, in lamplight
Last night, in a dream, the water 
Afterward, throughout the house, a quiet
Meanwhile, in the distance, the clouds
Against the window, at dusk, a reflection
In the leaves, just now, a dappling  
Afterward, across the room, a shadow 
In a notebook, meanwhile, the rain
Just now, yesterday, in a dream
Yesterday, for a time, our bodies
Meanwhile, their wings, a blur
Just now, the sunlight, everywhere 
Afterward, the windows, tomorrow
At dusk, the leaves, in shadow 
Yesterday, tomorrow, meanwhile, someone
In another room, upstairs, yesterday
The windows, the lamplight, the distance 
In the distance, the children, a blur
Your expression, meanwhile, a sparrow
Just now, in your hand, a fluttering 
Tomorrow, meanwhile


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Jeffrey Hermann's poetry and prose has appeared in Feral, Palette Poetry, Pank Magazine, trampset, The Shore, and other publications. Though less publicized, he finds his work as a father and husband to be rewarding beyond measure.

 

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