National Poetry Month Day 7: “Cafe Space” by James Hoch


Café Space

Here comes backwash from apocalypse
gamey as last night’s monastery potluck.
Did you have the goat bleating from the roof
of a floating house, its song as old as warning?
Here comes flotilla of yuck, a refrigerator
of jarred specimens, organs pickled
with contagions. Here comes debris field,
tablet, artifact and code, the salt-bloated
anthropologist clinging, gulls beaking his rib.
Did you try the ribs? I heard they were lunar.
Here comes swath. Here comes hogwash,
means of deciphering, satellite, buoyant
seraph, toxic churl. Dim sum, anybody?
Here comes the unmoored and rogue
ghost ship, a man who crawled into its hull,
drank rain water collected in the funnels
of fire extinguishers. Here’s speakeasy
misery of ingesting the suffering of others,
breath, ugh breath. Here’s my body floating
back into my body, what was dream
until dream took hold and closed the distance.
Lo the mouth that has to take all this.
Lo the scruggy evensong the gut owns,
the seeds of parasitic flowers blooming
with swells. From here, in our café in space,
through a pair of nifty five and dime
time warp binoculars, we see our toddlers
combing the shore with their shallow pails.
Do they see us flailing as if our radiator blew,
as if the ice is thinning? Can they hear us
yelp in our wayout wayback ancient tongue:
Run the other way, hunker down and love-–
Whatever blur we are giving our bodies to say,
it weighs about as much as shadows. We offer it
and they take it. Even as they clunk and crash
through their bewildered, bluing world.

-James Hoch

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James Hoch’s poems have appeared in Washington Post, American Poetry Review, Slate, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Blackbird and many others. A recipient of many fellowships and awards, his most recent book is Miscreants, (WW Norton 2007). He resides with his wife and sons in Garrison, NY and teaches at Ramapo College of NJ and Sarah Lawrence.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →