Jason Olsen teaches writing and literature at Utah State University-Eastern in Price, Utah
(U.S.A.). His work has appeared in Rattle, Mid-American Review, Hayden's Ferry Review,
and Indiana Review, among other places.
The trees have a language:
they have no word for "geography"
but a dozen words for "pastoral."
The word for "faith"
is flexible, living and breathing
in branches. I told the tree something
about difficulty, but it didn't
cull my chirp. It looked
at me like I was a impossible contestant
and said: "Your virility
is meaningless to rainwater. "
The trees are brimming with chameleons,
but the trees have no word
for chameleons. They call them only
"extra bark." The chameleons,
for the record, look like
downhearted blooms on the most
unnecessary of flowers.
Failure for the eleventh time is deflation;
thoughtfully, I perspire.
Twelve times? Failure is a caper
in a junket, looking for rebirth
or rhapsody. Ten items or less
is a lie told by tax evaders
and greasy plumbers. It's thrilling
to dive into a shivering swimming pool
wearing only your sweater and ambivalence.
I loved a woman once:
she wore a sunset the day she said no more
and handed me a list of things to do
to get over her:
8. tiptoe recreation
In the middle of the night,
with the moon throttling
the sky, I am on blister.
Playing Pinochle with the Apostles: A Beginner's Guide
The deck of cards is mandatory,
but the cards you play are an unbearable
dawning. Pay attention to your partner:
the way he sneezes and unfurls—
knowing how to cuddle your partner
through ill-health will lead to the opposite
of rainstorms and disrepair. Assume
your opponents don't know how to play—
if you are at your best, no one in the room
is as unsullied and unbiased as you.
Look at your hand: it is an unhappy
parallel. Take an unadvisable approach:
throw your cards on the table,
blame everything and everyone for your faults:
God, prison, algebra, desire, frozen
birthdays. Vandalize the room if you desire.
You've earned it. Failure is an invitation
to a special kind of candlestick jumping.
The Delayed Algorithm
Doubled-down and duly noted,
the boxer struggled off into a configuration
of truths and likelihoods.
If I stay on the mat, he thought,
I will be castrated (metaphorically)
His boots dilated sidelong. If I get up,
I will colonize what remains of this
cathedral. The tension mounted
or else it simply drizzled.
His decision was insignificant,
you say, but the woman,
beautiful and modern,
who asked you the time
when you were thinking of
wandering alone, owes her existence
to what happened next.
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