Bomb Sonnets

by Jayson Iwen


Many a potentially great man                Has languished in little times
Of peace & likewise dithering                 So dangerous to the great constitution
They wither into death & dissipation   Only a soul senseless as a weed
Could weather time that needs              No more than patience

The company of crickets                         Makes abundantly clear
History is no more                                   Than an expansion of the present
As the distance before us                        The grandeur of the horizon
Is merely more                                          Of where we already are


Like a skinned man                                  Set ablaze by the wind
Logic sets in                                               A seemingly ethereal excretion
Deposited in your head                           From where does it come
Like a prostitute looking back               To say, welcome to the club

Inside a sphere of infinite dimension   Everywhere is the center
Midnight is blue is a garden wall           Is the metaphoric nature of All
Black locusts trembling with wildlife    Why do I love you so
What is that declension in your eye       As if I were


Every thing vigilantly                                Evaluating every other
Hawk on a lamp post                                 Spider on a sleeping lip
Drone floating over an orchard               Where I lay dreaming
I bet my life on one life                              And lost

The sun rose up a thread                          Before leaving
The spider drew from herself                   Looked in on my parents
Into being                                                     Asleep within my walls
Sunlight                                                        Before even walls or I


Every day a man walks the horizon               That can be seen from the center of town
Occasionally encountering on a hill              At the edge of cultivation
Another man walking another horizon        Who points at the fields & asks
How do you survive in that wilderness        The other asks the same of the trees

Every day a man walks the horizon               And finds there another man
Who asks if he’s seen the end of the world   Yes, he says, I go there every day
And what do you see                                         Sometimes I see you
They drove us to this possibility                     So they can talk about it when we’re gone

Jayson Iwen is the author of several books of poetry and experimental prose (Six Trips in Two Directions, A Momentary Jokebook, and Gnarly Wounds). His writing has appeared in a wide array of places, including Borderlands, Clackamas Literary Review, The Cream City Review, Diagram, Fence, New American Writing, Onthebus, The Pacific Review, Pleiades, Third Coast, Water Stone Review, and Whiskey Island Magazine. Three poems from the same sequence as those presented in this issue of Ovenbird Poetry will appear in The & Now Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing. Jayson was born in Milwaukee, raised in Green Bay, and now, after many itinerant years, lives in Superior, Wisconsin.

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