Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Alana Joblin


Here's the prisoner's violin
see the fiddle made of matchsticks?

This, the amnesiac's self portrait.
There, the schizophrenic's sculpture.

And here, a robe embroidered
from sock threads.

Whirligig, giant windmill
spinning on the front lawn. Go on—
touch it.


Jerusalem: A Series Moving Backwards

I. Ribbons

Orange ribbons
fuchsia dipped in fire
unrelenting sun
tied to their wrists
tied to their waists
tied to the antennas
of their cars.
blue ribbons
robin's egg electrified
lapis dome of sky
clearest sea
tied to their necks
tied to their ankles
tied to their infants' arms.
Orange opposed,
Blue in favor.
Color fabric fastened
beliefs cannot be
tied tight

II. Winter 2000

This street like that
street but different.
East like west
but different gates
to the same city.
Zion. Damascus. Hebrew
letters on this bus
like Arabic letters
on that spice cart. The zatar
smelling the same. The rain
against the windows
sounding the same
until they shatter.

III. Sixteen, 1994

First summer away from home,
I will dance all night in Jerusalem,
fall asleep in a handsome soldier's bed

and vomit over his clean sheets.
I will drink tea with nana—
fresh mint he makes me
in the morning.

It will be the sweetest I have ever tasted.

         Never put this cup down.

When I do

Russ will be found dead in the basement.
Rabin will be murdered at a peace rally.

But I have to

have my first kiss
and learn how to drive

after the summer shatters–
disco ball knocked from the ceiling,

someone will need to
fetch glue, say kaddish, go on.



One landmark to another

I learned distance
in the snow, my golden-haired mom
pulling me in a red plastic sled

from the grey stone house
where she was born,
to the brown brick Tudor
where I was born.

How, as kids, they'd scream
from one side to the other–

Naming the valley between the large stones,

my young mother gestures her delicate arms
towards the train tracks.

Alana Joblin is completing her MFA at Hunter College in Manhattan, where she also teaches introductory creative writing to undergraduates.