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Jay Bain Nov 2011
He’d swim parallel to the shoreline for miles
conversations disappearing with each stroke;
hawk nose emerging, gasping, submerging again,
disappointments sounding in the rhythm.

One winter he tried to swim the Marshfield channels.
My mother held him under bathwater; hypothermic,
scowling like a demon boiling in hallowed water.
Bones curled and cracked as he swore, spit at her.

Then it was over.  The cold fire left him.
My mother never stopped kneading his muscles.
The books made him unhappy, he muttered
through corded lips as she sponged his forehead.

Jay Bain, November 2011
Jay Bain Nov 2011
She says she's trying not to be overly dramatic.  She would not
carry a stone in her mouth, cradle it on her tongue, or hide it under.

The pills are boulders in the tan cylinder.  Three times
daily.  So adrenaline receptor a and h sub 1 can slow dopamine

reuptake by 14%.  You've never had this problem.  You started
with the right mirepoix.  Have no need for this double-bonded

head, three legged insect, hydrogen nitrogen thorax, smoking
a chlorinated cigarette.  There she goes again.  Overly dramatic,

casting herself dramatis personae.  Just sad, she says.  No need
for sympathy: the cells will sweat, pass liquid by blood-brain,

after I skip these rocks across my tongue.


Jay Bain, November 2011
Jay Bain Oct 2011
He stalks the hill
spies tree snags
dead leaning on the living
must be cut loose.

cries to the evergreens

there is no moving on
but replacement

even saplings
sometimes accompany
the dead.

May He make me One
when my Soul
outgrows this one.
May I stare down the gully
march with swaying trees
felling dead from the living

lay a hand on every bark
before moving on.


-Jay Bain, 2011
Jay Bain Sep 2011
It is a crimson bird.
That which can be meditated upon
Has no meditation in itself.
This is the way.
The currents have slipped
A million times before.
It is what they do.
A copper trout
In an eddy,
Without cause.
No one can be
In the moment.
There are none,
Only fish and foul
Circling in theirs.


- Jay Bain, 2011
Jay Bain Sep 2011
Less like wine
quickening to scarlet;
more like tea, bitter
camomile; milk drops
fogging the steam.

I see you in night
red-shifted, tongue tip
seething your teeth;
I feel it as you shrug-
like in one breath
you exhale
me out.


- Jay Bain, 2011
Jay Bain Sep 2011
Hadn't eaten much in three days
so he grabbed some cookies in a napkin
met Richie and Sully, noticed a kid
in line for the coffee with cleft lip
knew his mother must have
drank when he was in the womb
now twenty-five years later
he is here on Christmas Eve
like the rest of this procession
flanking the coffee window, buffet table
cutting slices of ham, turkey
pound cake, yellow cake with M&M;'s
the cacophony of a hundred men and women
everything from where'd you find a spot?
woman telling another the of her daughter's
face when she didn't get the ipod
drunken Christmas pasts falling into the tree
old men bundled laughing and patting shoulders
into sweatshirts under jean jackets.
This is where they come.

He came for a different reason
since the music started faintly
whispering up into normal thoughts
staying too too long like a record
playing a song you don't like but can't turn off
streaming its broadcast three months ago
and was there almost like a full-time job
like a radio station all talk all the time
three weeks ago after the meds just quit
and the eating, sleeping, doing stopped
replaced by the wish to leave this place
this awful place, while hoping the new cachet
of prescriptions would just kick in already.


- Jay Bain, 2010
Jay Bain Sep 2011
A man in the square
is flapping his arms
circling the train entrance
shouting he has to get out;
passerby's turn, in formation-
girl looks up from texting
thumbs hovering the keys.
man stops at his car door
hand drifting from the handle.
elderly couple tossing crumbs
pause hand resting in the paper.
He is alive.
Corduroy coat billowing out
flying over brick cities,
swooping, diving
kicking up fallen leaves
getting out.


- Jay Bain, 2011
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