Jeff Wasserboehr

New Place Has Ümlauts

So we have been draining through our lifespans you & I
just moving in and out of different colored rooms. We drain
through our values too and we develop new ones and we
label that growing. Or in Kevin’s case, we will say things
like kid’s gone off the rails, or he used to
be sucha goodie pie. Whereas the cartographer on
the street curb shouts to us we are doing A-OK there!
No need to bring extra lamps for where we are venturing,
it’s not dark. Foxtrot-Uniform-Charlie-Kilo-Echo-Delta he says
with a thumbs up, eyebrows raised, nodding encouragingly.
It takes us minutes. You piece it together because you do
those sudokus. We imagine ourselves coming back and
wow open up a sock draw, any draw actually, and see
it filled with plastic baggies of new dried spices, picklyete,
arptinum, cux, manawaca, whateverthehell
all ones whose
smells I can’t even ask you to imagine
now, because how could you,
all capstones on our senses are there
to make you understand there are limits.
Understand one thing—
there is to be no Bill of Rights
in this new place we are building
not with our hands not with our eyes
but using our mental corridors—this new place
inside our heads where we can go
to not argue about things like
what color should I turn.
With you it’s always been what color should I turn
what color should I turn. Blue. Blue
Orange. Blourange: Those feelings of
boning Kevin’s sister, those were real. Now we are both
sick of turning colors we cannot
even spell in letters we know. This
new place will not be
about to not lose and to mostly win and just losing
and winning in general. Here we will cook handburgers
which is not a typo. If you can slap
an umlaut over your name all the better. Hang on—going
to keep spinning here for a moment.

Asking You to Think

is all I am doing. I would not want
to be anything but what I am
now, she says to you with that just absolute deer face.
You tell her you would give anything—anything—to
be anyone but who you are being now. These days
come as sad sacks with missing teeth and living feels
like phlegm the earth hocked up. How is the weather
out there? you ask people. Here is only stinky and windy.
                                                                 Stinky and windy.
Like walking with feet of gum over hot
pavement because all walking is done
in lines which is not at all about possibility, but patterns.
Outside there is something like cardboard fencing you in
and over the fence in the harbor a junk is moored
with a hundred shouting plebs. They are steaming
mad because they are super late for dinner and no one
not even their mothers taught them they can kick
their legs to produce versions of swim. I know nobody
only the moon. Everyone is dying from what things
they have inside them. Everyone is engendering more of
those things because come to think of it
we are tiny. I know nobody
only the moon but my goodness there are stars.


Jeff Wasserboehr lives in Western Massachusetts where he attends graduate school and teaches English. His work has appeared in Word Riot, Passages North, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, and Tulane Review.