Pooka by Jason Baldinger

 (for Matt Borczon)

I’ve been doing a piss poor
Jimmy Stewart impersonation
all day, him reading
the first few lines of Howl
I try again as I spark
a joint, hotbox the Silver
Bullet Calivan. Silsbe
reaches for the Van Morrison cd
we play the first track or two
then he says alright let’s get right
to it and plays Almost Independence Day
we talk about all his guttural
moaning, his interjections, his
ejaculations as he sings it’s impossible
to replicate, it’s always overdone
it’s always perfect. Today though
it’s the title track of St Domenic’s Preview
that’s put a nail in my heart, when Van sings
Everyone is determined not to feel each other pain

We have to walk through a cloud
of vapor smoke to get to the coffee shop
upstairs, there are snacks from the
event in the hallway and the barista
seems confused I want both a regular
coffee and a regular tea. Black and black
Borczon is talking about being in the naval reserve
with the Syrian chemical weapons strike his people
are clamoring for answers, there’s a storm
coming, there’s a war about to dawn
I hear your poems now and I think
this is not about what you’ve already seem
this about dread, a premonition of what
you’ll see, what we will all see again
whether live or on the news, in our living rooms
he remembers talking to a group of soldiers
reminding them democracy is something
you fight for, but don’t mistake this as a democracy

Van and the road have me thinking about
America, I was in a house that was a stop
on the Underground Railroad this morning
with this administration, I think more
on the meaning of freedom than I have
before, I see coming wars as good
for business, good for a cabal of
rich white men, they have no concern
for us, for the citizens of an alleged
democracy. I’m in a bar with Stolte,
his lady and Silsbe and there
are paintings of Jimmy Stewart movies
hanging, Stolte is not familiar with Harvey
one of my maternal grandmothers favorite
movies, and now one of mine. It seems
that democracy as we know it is a Pooka



Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs. Somewhere in time he has traveled the country and wrote a few books

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