i am jacob

seven year's bad luck i made, i
broke an illusion,
brought a seven-year seclusion to a shadow of a life.

a wife?
ha - what's that...
that lie?
that unmitigated disaster that i
walking down an aisle...
smiling on a piece of silvered glass.

you wanna know what's funny, still?
what kicks my daily ass?

woman, i
will tell you now:
i still believe, i do -
in you,
the unattained ideal
of infinite divinity,
gathered in a girl.
mayhaps i will believe it still, forever,


that trickster, prankster, spankster
bound our man-woman selves,
our cells,
then tore them all asunder,
as only God can do
(and you).

so i am jacob,

working seven year's penance
for a failure i still feel...
for a wound i'll never heal,
for a lie that's always true.

i am jacob.
i'm the mirror.

who are you?


  1. Hey Josh,
    I really liked this one! Not just your choice to be honest and raw but also the feel of the words. It almost felt asian, Haikuish in places. THnks for "opening a vein" as Buechner puts it. Or tearing off a scab. I hope you are also sometimes healing in that process. Hope is natural, and human.
    We need to catch up! Skype?

  2. Thanks, Curtis. Glad it did something for you. Skype sounds lovely. And for the record, it's not as dark as the poem makes it sound.

    This was actually more a meditation on my ongoing belief/fantasy in the idealized woman, and my slight confusion at the fact that such a belief/fantasy could survive something as cataclysmic as divorce. The Jacob thing is an obvious reference, I think, to delayed gratification intended to somehow "earn" that ideal, and the mirror imagery ties together the medieval idea that mirrors were windows into the spirit world, with the fact that they're nearly-but-not-quite representations of reality, and that breaking them is supposed to mean, oddly, bad luck of the same duration that Jacob had to work for his delayed-gratification idea.

    Did I kill it by explaining? Sorry. I've never been much attached to the idea of the "artist's mystique."


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