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Jacob Newberry-

Elegy

Sit near me as I write to you, here beside palmettos, potted on an 800 year old roof, where I am waiting.

Let the sounds of Jerusalem remind me you are everywhere: the morning’s calls to prayer, the cats that wail like panhandlers in the streets, the noon bells from the church of Calvary.

Let me forgive your passing when the sparrowhawks fly just over me, the wind reaching me from their wings.

Stay with me as I grieve and overlook the city, the expanses white and silent in your absence.

Let us descend and cross the valley as you did, as it is written, to the olive groves.

Let us linger there, our hands darkened with soil, my sorrow quiet when you hear my prayers.

Let us return and visit the markets, where women display cabbages on blankets beside our path. Let us walk the ramparts and bless the sellers of pomegranates.

Let us go to the street where you were killed. Let Kidron and Zion be as buttresses, to steady my feet while I follow the road where you died.

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Deep Sea Fishing

My father took me deep sea fishing
off the coast of Alaska when I was seven.
The men, the hooks, the open sea –
all part of a plan to toughen me up:
he wanted to pique my interest
in the sweaty, masculine endeavors of men.
Once aboard, his plan began to work.
My interests were especially piqued
by the captain’s thrillingly large arms.
They ornamented a massive, sea-sculpted body,
the veins in his forearms pulsing,
the muscles of his biceps releasing and contracting
as he and the fish locked themselves
in an ancient, glistening, moistening rite of barbarism.
As the fish fought for its life,
I was supposed to cheer for a quick surrender,
but I only wanted the pulsing, throbbing
battle to continue.
My father took this for softness,
and although he was happy I seemed so fixated
on the sweaty mechanics of the struggle,
he insisted that I be the one
to club the poor thing to death.
The fish flopping around the deck,
the captain smiled as I chased and beat it
into a coma with his thick club,
too big for me to wield properly.
I was overcome, perspiring masculinely,
seated silently on the deck,
rapturous in the afterglow of his hard
earned approval.
And my father, poor dear,
ecstatic to see my softness ended,
thanked the captain for a job well done,
insisted we’d be back next year.

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Noam Chomsky Wrestles Dick Cheney

Round I

Sufficiently oiled, Chomsky circles Cheney,
studying the angle of attack.
Grey tufts of chest hair jutting
out his V-neck sleeveless spandex one-piece,
he’s all certainty, winking
“Uncle Noam wants you.”
The wisps of ear hair blow softly as he falls
to the mat, taken down by Cheney’s
unexpectedly limber scissor kick.
Cheney beats his chest.

Round II

Chomsky is bleeding slightly from his nose,
but he bounces like a freedom fighter.
He laughs a little when Cheney takes his shirt off,
oils up his hairless chest, points proudly
to the surgery-scarred landscape of his torso and heckles,
“When you lose, I’m installing a new dictator in Venezuela.”
Chomsky runs around the ring to tire his opponent out.
The bell sounds on a draw.

Round III

Cheney no longer seems invincible, as running
has overworked his bionic heart.
Struggling for breath, Cheney looks quickly
to his corner for help. Chomsky sees
his moment has come, so with a cry of
“Liberate this, bitch!” he slams his head into Cheney’s.
They briefly embrace, oiled chest against oiled chest.
The empire topples to the mat.

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Jacob Newberry is a second-year student at Florida State University, pursuing a Ph.D. in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in poetry. His poems have been published in Rattle and Pinyon, among others. He is the Poetry Editor at the Southeast Review, as well as Associate Editor for the online literary magazine Juked.

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