• Sam Herschel Wein

Three poems // Sam Herschel Wein

essay on eating picture frames

joint with couch cushions, collaging colors

balance each other in,

inside picture frames

are dribbles of paint for mourners, or criers, or depressed

you, you swallow the frame whole

and watch it collide

with wooden stomach floors, an art gallery

of a ghost

I can tell you now, this isn’t an

essay on your mother in law, your

overweight uncle, the dog that died,

already three summers ago? seems

like yesterday was essay

on breaking up on his mattress, did you

read that one? your own

words? trace it into the bottom

of the sink? break the

drain, swing around

the pipes?

could’ve sworn it was

essay on overpriced carpets,

pillows of stuffing for every foot,

foot of the table that’s crooked with

misused words

falling over

no one wants to eat dinner

without it

but the family broke all

its legs, I guess, because the table

split to hexagonal shards

like its design, a pretend tree, plastic bark

a metaphor for losing

something or an

essay on a family’s loss

told by me, the entertainer, the one

who writes, and cries, and is

consistently the most yelled at

consistently yelling

the most.

Angst in Threes

White knuckles clenched. Playground boys run. They don’t stop. Kissing in

kindergarten. Kissing in third—grade. Use the tongue. Against the wall.

Everything is pressed. Naked at sleepovers. Naked in attics. Naked in

basements. Everything is sex. I never asked. I television watched. I

actor / actress. I the part. I playing stage. He smiles, bites. Indented,

bare arms. Nobody calls home. Not even thirteen. Summer camp friends.

Jewish school friends. Tennis court friends. One after another. Pinned against

me. Everyone is naked. Just so young. Just so hungry. How was school? My

little mathematician? I learning angles. Geometry of bodies. I dinner overeat.

I not sleeping. The house,

silent. I awake, alone.

For Barney

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, Gay, or even Purple, we must all unite…”

- Some gay CEO on the news

I pledge allegiance to the black, gay, & the

purple, & the white gay men in the high–rise

buildings among waveless waters & politicians

whose speeches hover above knees over gravel

buzzing like broiling sausages & I pledge

allegiance to Barney, violet scales, leafy green

belly bumps, I pledge to the country of Barney

& gays & blacks & minorities in speeches or

cardboard sayings or one identity–fits–all or one

identity–fits–none & purple next to my identity

like it’s as alive as I am & gays of power or really

business white gays pledge allegiance to green,

green, & green & this country that wraps legs

with flags that trip us when we run toward our

selves & this is about purple & possibly purple

is a successful ode to those settling here & always

this country’s legacy; someone’s identity is unable

to come & if I am like the purple, the rainbow’s

inside, the bottom wrung, do I, indignant, blame

the blues & yellows for not held down a hand?

I remember Barney called for family, & Barney a

guitar of songs on how to love with a whole heart

& singing, on key, family is most likely to witness

bleeding of its members but the white gay family

doesn’t see this & it’s all purple or bust & white

people all have one thing in common, all love to

call the police & I think I would like Barney if I

met him now, though I meet him every day, like

at protests, lost beneath the mayor’s thumb,

hidden in book burnings, but in sleep, they ask

me to forget, forget, he not exist, written in rest

& the cardboard shreds.

//

Sam Herschel Wein is a current Chicago resident who specializes in aimless frolicking. He has been a fellow at Tent: Creative Writing in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is currently the Editorial Assistant at Construction Magazine. Recent work has appeared in Salt Hill, Nightblock Magazine, Cahoodaloodaling, Gabby Journal, and Red Paint Hill.

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