Monday, March 12, 2012

Jeffrey Park- Two Poems


The splinter, do you remember
the little sliver
of something you had in your foot, so
small that you
couldn’t even see it
and I had to dig it out with my penknife
while you squirmed
and I dug and you moaned and gritted
your teeth
and I just kept digging because otherwise it
would get funky
and marinated in puss but in the end I
got it out and then I kissed
the hurt away?
I’ll let you in on
a little secret I’ve been keeping.
There was no splinter.
But later I did find a tiny thorn outside
and put it in
a little jar that I keep on my nightstand
and I often gaze at it
and think of you.


Eat your damn vegetables, my pop used to yell at me
like it was some kind of fierce wisdom, damn
vegetables, scrape them off the plate, bite them, chew them,
swallow them all, eat them up now.
And what would they do for me anyway– make me
grow up into a clean-living man?
Build moral fibers?
Keep my teeth from falling out, my bones
from splintering, my snot from turning all runny.
Then again: could there be more?
Maybe veggies well digested would surrender up insights
into the secret lives
of growing things, trees and weeds
and stinging nettles, hanging vines, sad backyard shrubs.
At its greenly pulsing heart
every celery stalk could be a primeval redwood, every turnip
a forest denizen from the misty dawn of time.
To digest them would be to know them all.
On the other hand: eat
your damn dessert, my dad also used to command. Lick out
that bowl, I’m watching you.
Eat your damn napkin, you little termite, eat the table,
eat the walls.
Leave the veggies on your plate, I tell
my kiddies, leave them lie as if they were poison. Go on
outside and put them back in the ground. Set them free.
Who knows, maybe
they’ll be able to do you a good turn someday, too.

Bio: Jeffrey Park is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He currently lives in Munich, Germany where he works at a private secondary school, as well as teaching business English to adults. His most recent poems have appeared in Subliminal Interiors, Danse Macabre, Punk Soul Poet, Mobius, Darkling Magazine and elsewhere.

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