The Poetry Project

Jordan Jace

Stones. Beside each poem there is a cage. Six by eight feet. This may be a bit too ‘on the nose’. Once I got a concussion—my friend threw a small rock at a large rock, the smaller rock split and one of the shrapnel hit me in the back of the head—trauma is the ongoing fracturing of a hard moving object, both the moving pieces and the distance between them— at first my friend didn’t understand why I was crying—My father told me about the time he stepped on a wooden plank in such a way that it shot up and smashed his nose in. This was his offering, a cure. There was lots of blood. He felt I was in bed for too many days, he said I should get up. In a way it was tender, he was sorry that I was so soft. I suppose it’s a risk to bring the term ‘blood’ into play here, out to play. I would be a better poet if I understood to what extent poems are ‘play’ and not ‘a play’, the stage, the theater. From a theater major to a ‘criminal’. Those who’ve murdered shouldn’t live in cells. He comes from a place I know nothing about. As a child I felt I was his captive and so learned love to be a captivity of sorts, where you are pulled in a rhythm like the occurrence of waves toward that something that you love. That thing that you love is a vanishing point. When you are fully within the frame and far beyond what it provides. At sea. I often disappeared in it. In his arms and his high shadow or smile. Most especially when he said “holy toledo batman.” He said this each time we met, the equivalent of morning, as in the recurrent beginnings that punctuate joint custody, if morning is that repeated meeting point between light and consciousness where the day begins in its role as an extension of your thought, or where that extension meets its mercy and contingency, the glass instants where the day is habitually unmarked, though not always. Sometimes it is stuck to yesterday. Sometimes there are cracks in the light creeping through the blinds. When he saw me and said “holy toledo batman” this always meant, you’ve grown, you’re getting taller by the second. Your body is now more fit for violence than it was months ago. I am tempted to finish here, but this “violence” is underwritten, represented as simply malicious. The bruise is such an appealing literary trope because of its variance in tone and hue, because its inflections and implications of depth and of festering, its claim of visible signs of healing. The colorful pause. Blood gathering, collecting itself. A swell. A pulse as pause. The body as the body of water. Violence an empty inheritance. To become the ‘man of the household’ at twelve. A gap in the high noon of childhood. When I woke up to pee past my midnight I often found my father playing Madden on the couch. Hey Buddy. Thinking of this makes me want to cry. I have a visual reel. What material might make pathos in my own body. I am a factor of production of the emotions of Jordan Jace. In the phantasmic a certain causality to feeling. We never could share the distance between us, but more likely, almost certainly, we never had a choice about sharing it. That even today we hold it between us no matter which way we face. High noon, midnight, where were we? We were his past, in his lag which didn’t belong to him, a weather delay, a long wake of grief. Whether lost father at twelve, lost brother in early two-thousands, but maybe before that. Lost first son, his first attempt at ideology, in 2008. Maybe 2009. No matter what you do I’ll always love you more than anything, even God, you’re my firstborn. A before and after two instances of spousal abuse, which were periods and not asteriks. A period as a collection of time and a moment in time where time is decided. Decisions. I hate literature and art and film that paint male violence as blips, hazes, moments outside of consciousness where the body supersedes itself, overflows for a moment. Desbordar. To overflow, phonetically similar to disboard. He never left the ship of choice, I can’t argue that he never got on. The compasses were broken, the air that might’ve hailed the magnet was fractured, shattered. Beyond repair there was a sign. I loved nothing more than when he carried me. I pretended to sleep so he would prop me on his shoulder, against his heartbeat. Whenever I could I rode him. I write on his back. I write in his blood.

Issue 16