poems by DB Jonas

Freud in London in the Rain


… I thither went

With inexperienced thought and laid me down

On the green bank to look into the clear

Smooth lake that to me seemed another sky.

John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV


Too late now to reconsider our departures.  It is too late.

The way the mind of man proposed to us a pond, appeared

a pond beset with swans, or a pond’s reflection in the sky.


But we must carefully reconsider our mistakes. The way

we trolled for catfish in the mud, for the specific creature

busying the powdery floor, far beneath the pale reflections.


When the Unconscious world made its first disappearance,

we dreamed we thought we saw it diving into dark domains.

A lifetime’s listening showed us otherwise, that the secrecies


all shine brightly in the common air, and flash and vanish,

and were never really here, these never-wounds that creatures bear,

the injuries of absence everywhere, asking only to be borne,


that must, in some small way, be recognized and even loved,

a kind of gravity we all possess but cannot share, that speaks

in all we do and what we flee and everything we fear.


I think that I could start again now from a different spot,

watching through the spattered window panes a rain-soaked street,

and somehow try to redirect the misconceptions of our art,


this unread knowledge of the known and knowable world

that lives outside the fiery symbols, outside the fiery mind itself,

this dispossessing atmosphere where life and thought take place.


But I am old.  And just perhaps the work we’ve done

will one day surface in another sky, an altogether other space

where all my too-familiar words have shed their common sense


and all the loyal acolytes, so quick to parse and paraphrase,

give way to these my hard-earned laws of life and quiet science,

of a world we can’t deny, consigned so long to silence.




Die Welt ohne Eigenschaften


All there is is number. Number is in everything.

Number is in the individual.  Inebriation is a number.

Charles Baudelaire


When number held your perverse flesh

suspended in the womb-warmth

of your incompletion

in that time before your loud becoming

it was then you knew the meaning

of each pulsing systole of belonging

each diastolic throb of grief.


We harbor in the upright world

the vestige logic of an amniotic sea

where sense arises in sensation

and intensities insist upon the skin

where meaning means significance

the urgency of something pulsing

in the stark immediacy of distance


in a world before quality

in a place without location

in a time more intimate than memory


where in quantity alone we’re held afloat

devoid of messages and numerals

but made of number.

poems by DB Jonas

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