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, poets.org, and elsewhere.