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2 poems by Jake Orbison

Another Eden

I got kicked out of

a bar called Eden

in Irvine, California

by a bouncer who

grabbed me gently

at first, then squeezed

the bottom of my

ass while he

tossed me into

the alley. Looking

back, it made me

happy. I wanted my

body to be got—

why not like this?

It made everything

purpose-driven, even

as I hit the sidewalk.

I can’t tell if these

bruises are from

the pavement or

his hands throwing

me away with such

meaningful disregard,

like how minimalist

painters eject us

from their work

on the grounds

that we are human.

Moments before

some guy had told

me a joke I didn’t

quite understand

about an auction,

when I offered

to buy his drink,

then another, then

he left. I’m sure

he’s told that joke

before. I won’t

repeat it. It wasn’t

funny, anyway.

He was a student

of art history.


My mood is big.

Bigger than the future.

It holds me together

at two edges, desire

and expectation, like

a wound bound by

sutures. With this

this in mind, I concede

to taking the SSRIs.

The pills insult me

by being small—

every night, midnight

for five weeks. Then

November comes,

a regular November.

I rip the husks open

before buying corn.

My doctor says,

This isn’t working.

He stares at me

blankly, like a poet

scrutinizing a draft.

Always squinting,

his eyes like scars—


Jake Orbison is a writer from New York. His work also appears in Ambit, the Boston Review,, and elsewhere.


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