Jordan Stempleman (Iowa, USA): Four Poems


I accept, combinations of unlikely
to unanswered, I accept the darkness
of triumph as apart, I accept the numinous
risings gone once convinced, and the collapsing
recline of a cold, lost balloon.

I accept, the lowly surgeon who’s taken
with the worker’s old work, I accept a second matter
that stares long after the first, I accept
the untimely hero bored before ruin, and the son
asked to cut his father’s last hair.

I accept, what is and what weakens to reprove,
I accept all the rooms filled with gods
obsessed and alone, I accept the nearest to fire
or the closeness of hope, and the plan to end
saying, I will say it once more.


There is now one good ear left.
The last one to go, was too heavy
on the cotton and not the common
sense. There is no longer any dis-
illusionment about what will give
up next. The mugs are now filled
with boiling white tea. The stapler
is used while squinting towards the
light. Gloves, although lined with
rabbit, weigh down these hands, so
they often rest there, long overdue,
dangling and down by my side


And I’ve fallen off a stool
which means, I wasn’t meant to reach
so far out first thing in the morning.
To be sitting there. To have a very important center
that regrows each day with minimal
water, minimal outings. What a difference it is
to be between the unwritten and the unsaid.
There’s a cookbook I’m skeptical about
so I’ve left it in the drawer for months
now, where I know it keeps on serving
the same dish, day after day, without pictures
to account for all it’s done, without an organism
to break down starch, and sugar, and taste.


there are little runts
and blunted
comments, middle names

for everyone, the slightest
impression embossed
on a handkerchief

squeals for one better
truth to try and imagine
one better truth,

exhibitions in the sense
they pour, nervous
as donors are we all

© Jordan Stempleman 2007