“The Powers that Be” – Poem Submission by J Park

Baltimore native Jeffrey Park currently lives in Munich, Germany, where he works at a private secondary school and teaches business English to adults. His latest poems have appeared in Requiem, Deep Tissue, Danse Macabre, Crack the Spine, Right Hand Pointing and elsewhere, and his digital chapbook, Inorganic, has just been published online by White Knuckle Press. Links to all of his published work can be found at www.scribbles-and-dribbles.com.


The powers that be are here at last. They arrived
yesterday evening, materialized
from an unholy fog and settled right in.
They made themselves comfy on my old fold-out bed
and went on to spread their personal hygiene materials
all around the bathroom.

Should we ask
how long they’re planning to stay,
drop hints about three-star hotels in the area?
You’d probably be much more comfortable in your own place,
don’t you think?

With a typical lack of self-assertiveness,
I neglect to bring up the subject. Fresh towels, there
in the linen closet.
Do you need a washcloth as well? Everything ok?
Please do make yourselves quite at home – no,
no bother at all.

Wouldn’t think of letting you stay anyplace
except right here.


Shouting at the warm rain
a jungle drum in the mist of the clearing
wakes spirits of the ancient dead

that swirl up through dripping leaves
and call down to those below – not so bad
up here in the high canopy

not bad, once you’ve got used to
the emerald tree snakes and the unnatural
thinness of the treetop air.


We had soul food and it
wasn’t all
that I had expected.
I felt no spark on my tongue, no
sense of anything
especially transcendent.
Neither immortal nor eternal,
really it just tasted salty,
tangy –
and then it struck me that salty
and tangy
may in fact be just what’s left
when we shed this mortal
husk at day’s end,
when sweet and sour tickle
nobody’s taste buds
ever the more.


Seeing you move
I run the logarithm yet again
match descriptors to
correlated tags
nervous, aggressive, wary
and the calculation
demands the appropriate action
to ignore
to burn
to capture and detain
you the object, I the instrument.
And the shifting
flow of causal equations
lades its own bowed shoulders
with the weight of judgment.
And I implement.
I burn you down to a scattering
of ash or hold you for
the questioners
and you will
answer their questions.
Or I fix you with my liquid
crystalline eyes and nod
my head (hear the sand-crusted
servos creak)
and bid you
be about your business
while I prowl on
scanning, surveying, recording,
from moment to moment.


spiritual journey
raised a succulent
on my aching soul
left me
longing for the touch
of your

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