“Matsushima, ah!

…A-ah, Matsushima, ah!
Matsushima, ah!” - Basho

life’s a fine way to abstract one from death:
if he &/or she can so, or if not look at
the landscape & hope,

or, what if, ¿every landscape was a mistake, as say,
one looking into the unfolding bulb of a snowdrop
sees but the shape of a hand, that, like We, once completely opened up
lets all its emptiness go, only to let more emptiness in,

¡then hope; &

¿where did T.W.’s abstractions go? I does
& doesn’t know, all death equates to
is I exists, (& Thom

—¿but why the irony of the trees still grow,

there being no one meaning yet
for the willow
that does not take the willow
from the willow

so that there is always more meaning
where there is less willow;

all’s prologue, I wants to die before his mother
so that he may easily leave the world she created
before she uncreates it;

all’s home; how long has I & will he long & think & dream of home;
home: that one eternal loss that all mortal thought is modeled to

The Execution of Wenseslao Moguel

if I ain’t got no heart
then ¿what hurts

it unfed beside I like a dog, that is also desire,
when desire is tender & empty & hell & hurts;

“but you is your desires,” says The Idiot
petting & wetting behind the ears,
¿what could be worse? ¿say, not
being able to hurt :

like if you was that dog
sans its thirst ;

& ¿why’s it always seem like evening
even when it’s not

like this inch that is moving towards us
is darker still than it is still not 

& later on, our memory of morning
is much more morning than it actually was;

& of all the 11 o’clocks out there
¿why then? must this one ¿be bad, friend?

not even day could whisk or will
the wisp or wealth of this sprawling dark

far &/or less dark, & away; everything in this world
is unrequited but the dark,

—Time, too?

—don’t know, but ¿what’s that

—that’s Me tryin’ to make the light

—I, too, hopes to do that
in & w/ Time

Sad Aves & His Ugly World (Stevens’)

people are alone & do not want to be,

& if all We’s done & doing for is to get love
then I ponders on if this act & outcome of lethargy
is not a greater irony than his passionate inabilities to get said,

verily, sometimes, is I a singer now
now that he has to sing

now that the world has written
for him : words, one being

verse after

of what it is to be eternally: I
in the ephemeral world ;

¿& where & what does that “I” go to,
I doesn’t know anything that is not
the consequence of love

maybe that’s why I feels exponentially
& exponentially less whole ; & let’s have another word

for being not whole :

but it’s cold
& I wants to go home

& the frozen birds along the park line
died in perfect expectance

& We’s in the same shape, except
expecting more & colder


Jon-Michael Frank has work appearing in JMWW, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes, Slush Pile and elimae, among others. These poems are a part of a full-length conceptual manuscript entitled, The Wheelbarrow Oms. Jon-Michael is also an assistant editor for the small press BIRDS, LLC and helps run a reading series in Austin, TX called Fun Party.