Game Ball. A Poem by Miriam C. Jacobs

Above Hukte Ajaw’s court where the air stinks
of rotting flesh and rubber, darkest night of the year,
the sky is potent with cold.
Our astronomers fix the time of sacrifice,
time for the judge’s sharp whistles, the slam
as the ball, stuffed with the brains of the dead,
ricochets against sloping stone.
Once through the ring is all there is.
You’ve practiced your whole life for this loser’s joke –
costumed, absurdly masked, belt packed
with home-spun rags. Childless, you ape pregnancy,
waddling wide-legged, teasing your tongue
in the scent of sausages and fried maize, challenging
to laughter the chit-chat of families with no son or daughter
in the center, prattle of people with nothing,
in this moment, to lose. The regent is planted
on his dais, legs firm and upright like two pillars.
His flags wilt on the arms behind him
in the only world that matters, the only world
you know. And when his minions have cut
your heart from your body, the steam of it rising
in the mythic air as they pass it from mouth to mouth,
when your skull has rolled down the chiseled steps,
the crowd cheered and scuttled to their dim hovels, turned on television,
the forest stretches its vines to cover those who loved you,
who carved your name on a rock.

 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
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goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Miriam C Jacobs Reviews All the Babble of the Souk.

Poet Robin Ouzman Hislop’s first full-length collection, All the Babble of the Souk, is appropriately titled. With a remarkably consistent ear for the market’s noise, for “[t]he broken lights of the bazaar/spangled] with glistening promise/in the eyes of the dusky beggar …” (Laminations in Lacquer ) Hislop’s poems, many of them cinematic-style montages of sounds and images, show us the metaphoric souk of the world, on the beach or in the street, its glitter, its sadness, its ragtag glory:
 
“pets, flower pots framed captive in a moment
outside the house of the painter, a robot
in chains with an alms bowl” (“Departures”)
 
These impressions are not confined to the scenic. Individuals, too, flash like rich arcades:
 
“there is not time enough to love
before the tram whisks her away
a creature of the costume of the moment
in a parade of parts.” (“In the fish-eye window”)
 
So marked is Hislop’s interest in the external world, readers may long for a glimpse of the speaker. It comes rarely. There are one or two musings on the phenomenon and surprise of feeling oneself age, the odd disjointing of it, but otherwise these poems proclaim their perhaps unique impersonality. In “Laminations in Lacquer” we sight what is, perhaps, the poet, but in third person, one who rises, observes, and then folds in at last with the “throng”:
 
“Below the rift of its eye
the sealed beak that will open
gleams on the lee …
in a room that roams without corners
he must rise with a chalice of blood for lips of shades
where the vertigo edge of the flower distills the dish
together with the quantities of immeasurable throng
on watery groves billowing with ivy bowers
sprung over hidden lairs of concealed hoards.
Night begins and the dogs draw nigh
scavenging for scraps
yapping at the walker’s naked ankles
in the dust of unknown alleys.”
 
Among other reoccurring themes – shadows, mirrors, the moon – is Hislop’s interest in physics. In a variety of contexts he reflects on time and infinity, the imagination-daunting galaxies, quantum theory and space:
 
“Man cannot live on myth alone
he shall earn his soil somehow, between
the Big Bang, the Big Slam ….”
 
One admirable quality in this work is that souk places us firmly in the precariousness of the current moment in history. These poems are exactly right for the age, and who we are now, those of us born 1945-1960, with our particular view of past and present, our grasp of the sciences and technologies that have overtaken the known world in our lifetimes.
 
“The world is a patchwork quilt,” Hislop concludes in “Lucky hat day,”
‘stitched up to the hilt its seams/which we quarter in our dreams
on which our edifice is built …”

 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
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robin@artvilla.com
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goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Irrelative. A Poem by Miriam C. Jacobs

*For Ed Hall

Wash hands of him, rip collar,

band one arm in black.

Every year say kaddish, and press

a stone into the ground.

You saw his stumble on the down

step – a Mobile city bus –

two years old, but already wearing his father’s

sins – indistinct, sleepy, immobile

with Norman Rockwell crack,

his mother’s rage, “Get your black

ass up,” what the world will say

if he falls – dreaming – of red hair and freckles,

promises exed. Of course,

she turns on him, tears that calendar

from the wall, pops his woolgathering

head.
 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes
www.facebook.com/Artvilla.com
robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com

 
goodreads.com/author/show/Robin Ouzman Hislop
http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
https://www.amazon.com/author/robinouzmanhislop
http://www.innerchildpress.com/robin-ouzman-hislop.All the Babble of the Souk

Hourly, Ring His Knell. A Poem by Miriam C. Jacobs

He was the pearl she boasted, whom she lifted from clay

with a word, like God, from evidence of worms,

his beauty got neither for work, nor trade,

gift from the reach of a hand.

Had she powers, she would have sung

enchantments to the hole in the bottom of the sea,

seen all the ocean sunk, if only he

were sheltered in the sawdust of her palm –

in time, made coral of his bones, a spotless pearl

of that one eye, of his contours, trappings

like cells, rocks, islands – caskets where we dwell –

seen not the pearl is also shell, mere stuff,

coffer we hold, jewel we mourn, account its center lost

when its roundness rolls away from us in the grass,

vanishes in the ground.

 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
 
www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes
www.facebook.com/Artvilla.com
robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com

http://www.aquillrelle.com/authorrobin.htm
http://www.amazon.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop
www.lulu.com. All the Babble of the Souk. Robin Ouzman Hislop

Sanctuary. A Poem by Miriam C Jacobs

 

Each of them has his own room, here, his own cardboard pallet,
 
drawer. A mirror above a row of pipes reflects disorder’s emptiness.
 
Ideal Music, the shop next door, has electricity.
 
Sometimes late at night they can get inside, turn on lights, play records.
 
Once in a fit of drunken nostalgia for childhood,
 
for bottomless night and stars, Reggie busted out
 
a window over the enclosed alley between stores,
 
while Goose, weeping in Spanish for the cuts on Reggie’s hands,
 
leaned against the rain-soaked wall eaten with black mold,
 
a man in love. He pisses into empty beer bottles, sets
 
his good boots in a corner, still brushes his teeth. For him, their abandoned beauty
 
shop is World Navel, Jerusalem, their threesome a Sartre play – book
 
she’s never read – and the rooms are drawers. His mother lay him down
 
to sleep in a drawer, he’d told her once.
 
When she was a little girl she imagined a found life in household drawers,
 
their low ceilings, landscapes within them shut. She conquers her fear,
 
now, by opening, emptying. Reggie and Goose make cushions
 
from the contents: shreds of wallpaper, palm- size flecks of lead paint, leaking color bottles,
 
Styrofoam crusted with dried Chinese take-out, clothes or a lone shoe
 
discovered in the streets and carried back. On rainy nights they rip up these beds
 
for toilet paper, or shit out that broken window. Reggie’s vomit
 
stinks and then dries like a jack-less
 
telephone. These are toxins of particularity, poisons within the self.
 
Beyond these walls, it’s a nightmare staying alive, toxins of survival.
 
Goose is next door playing records. Music leaches through the walls:
 
Partridge Family’s Greatest Hits, Jerusalem of Gold.

 
 
 
Jacobs recent head
 
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
 
 
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Stoning the Witch. A Poem by Miriam C Jacobs

 
 

Come get your things before I put them out

in the rain, you want to say, your face

in the mirror white enough to frighten milk.

But every time you touch the phone your capillaries shrivel.

Last night the witch almost got away

clutching your daughter, sliver of silver, white-armed,

honeybird tattoo.

It’s too late, anymore, for latches or key codes.

You strike him to stone with a glass of hurled milk,

poke the shards, grown doughy

with so much water, through a grate under the street,

but they cling to your wet fingers like resin.

You have to shake them, shake them loose.

Now, perhaps he’ll rise severally from the sewer,

tear through the countryside with his brothers, stomp villagers.

Your shilly-shallying carries off everyone.

You clasp the phone, tell him: Don’t lie.

Your skin pricks in the super-heated air.

Her lips are white.

She’s so gullible.

Jacobs recent head
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.

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I punk like for real. A Poem by Miriam C. Jacobs.

 
 
 
where them tights with the hole? this skirt

too toile. someone might think I effort,

tangle hair on purpose. no one even know

I wake up like six thirty bank account got money.

tuck it in before I get mistake.

your eyes, they tiny round and silver like eyes

one of those dolls people stick over the toilet paper way back

in the fifties before I was born you better believe

it. I seen those old, old movie. those hippie. them trailer-park

grandma face tape. I put my birt-tay right in my email.

mother fucker don’t tell me it’s semantics.

you got great big hair pony over your bald spot.

you camouflage, but I still recognize you, saggy

chin since you got marry, little soft

under arm. me, I stay single cinder-block bookcase

paint up myself, Goodwill cup, so much cooler than you.

we sit on the floor, make Kaballah and stuff.

my hip don’t hurt at all.

how about I wear little green dress linen always look wrinkle?

anyone can see I try (not), I care (not).

I forget what you even said when you came over

 
Jacobs recent head
 
MIRIAM C. JACOBS is a alumnus of the University of Chicago and teaches college writing, literature and humanities. Jacobs is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta. Her poetry has appeared in Jewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Bluestem: the Art and Literary Journal of Eastern Illinois University, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today, among other publications. Her chapbook of poetry, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.

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