a Land Without Secrets

Jake Sheff

for the Dayton Poets
after Mase, “Feel So Good”

The critic said to listen, how the line,
“these hours of horror, these hours of ours,”
was echoing the shore (but not Cancun’s), or else
A crowd conspiring with death against itself.
The poem was, Everybody’s Trying to Be
Orion, by a Polish Holocaust reminder. “Believe
you me,” the critic stated, “this organized, crude
contraption’s misery unharnessed glamorizes
bric-a- brac, our tête-à-tête with all the by-and-by
afforded the divided I.” The critic’s double chin
and modest yee-haw lacked chauffeurs. “Societies,”

the critic said, “don’t disavow a box.”
‘Flowers bow to Cato, bowers flow to tacos—
Achoo!’1 Trying to bore, or else Grant’s tomb,
is how repeating death inspires clouds:
“Poetry is the best way to repeat
yourself without actually repeating
yourself,” the critic stated. “This organ’s crud! The eyes
are captious! Miserly!” Unvarnished seminars
that, tooth for tooth, knickknack for by-and-by,
divided the compounded eye2. The pinnacle asserted3

nothing mordant: shofar decals; suicidal toys.


1 Inside Fred’s head (composition in situ), Everybody’s Trying to Be Cyan
2 Cf. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
“And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
“… When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall …”
3 Cf. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
“My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
“My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
“(They will say: ‘But how his arms and legs are thin!’)”

about the author
Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and captain in the USAF. Though currently residing in Los Angeles county, he spent the past three years in Dayton, where he was fortunate enough to meet several talented, kind and genuine people with whom he could share poetry, laughs and coffee or beer (depending on time of day, or not). He considers life an impossible sit-up, but plausible.

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