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Category: Ish Klein

Excerpts from a Secret Sermon


To speak of Distillation this instant

would be stupid and cause madness and loss of limb

to who may be fixing what needs six years to find rest.


Vine-tressed, the vessels are to store what of which ore taken

from ground or grave wherein lay a heavily gold-toothed guru

who told you in his will you will take out from him said gold


which becomes a new monkey to put up with.

It says not much but how to and when

you will be able to know.


First, strike spaces in casements not meant to screen

as all mannered pest fly through. You are

needful of these gaps which allow moonbeams of each degree


to touch you who is so unused; you must in sleep take visitings,

be pulled as towards their rut-rocked surface source.

You may go closer to the window. There is no glass in the frame.


It will be who wakes with a taste of special metal each morn.

Who was alive only when looking for the source.

Who was dying and, hard black-biled inside, had to hit back.


Neither slow to takeover nor quick breeding inside

this knowledge of instants uneasy as amputees

are to take away from their new ex-limbs.


And softly spoken as red worn by a sleeping babe;

dreams to him are livid though he is not allowed to say

what holds him to his ritual. He stains new if old clothes taken away.


And inches inside which tick each upended history to tell

who to hold this hand you have out to

catch motion off one moment you think meant for you.

from Moving DayFind more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2011 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This is Also a Dolphin


I do not pay someone

to listen to my problems

because I’m in a progressive

state where therapists are everywhere

and free to the needy.

I’m in the library across

from an office of therapy.

I am watching the hand

in the office window. Clearly,

the hand is the client.

Shit, as soon as I

mentioned it, he retracted it.

Maybe not, yeah, it’s back.


There’s a ring on him.

He pretends to be whisking

an egg. Now bouncing atop

the blond armrest. He opens,

lifts as if listening to

music; or he is palsied.

Period. It’s away now. Period.

No! It’s back doing capisce;

understand in Italian. Lily bud.

It is a pale hand. He’s

pointing now. Fist hitting his

armrest. He’s opened fingers, it’s

away from the window. No,


it’s back. It’s up near

his chest then hits armrest.

Maybe this is a woman?

Now it’s whisking in tighter

circles, presumably, a smaller egg.

Less work, less concern. Why

did I assume masculine previously?

It was a thick ring.

But women do that too:

wear thick rings. It’s 50/50.

The hand was not hairy.

Our hands are bigger now.

It’s gone. Now it’s back


up: bouncing. Nervous but insistent

Who knows what this hand

does away from the window?

In the sticky ear, poking

its owners nose. Pointing. It’s

pointing. Rude or raw confidence.

Now it’s two hands pointing.

Hello! It’s like a chevron.

Bouncing, now the sign for

money: fingers wearing each other

out. It’s away from its

window. I’ll give it five

minutes. I don’t have forever.


It’s back at a new

angle. I see the polar

fleece sleeve of the owner.

which blends with the reflection.

Yes, it’s back; arched like

a sea creature. Now out

of the window, now bobbing

over the armrest energetically.

He or she is dealing

with agitation. He or she

is not touching down now.

The hand unfurls; less weapon,

more emphasis. It diffusely points.


It points over there, beyond

the still life on the wall.

Now the “eh” sign, comme

si, comme ça. Slowing down.

Maybe he or she got

sedation. A headless body towards

me. Hello, Therapist! Nice shirt.

He lumbers with a pad.

The hand leaves the room.

Out for more problems, probably.

No, I reframe that story.

Now, she is reaching out.

Now, they come towards her.

from Consolation and MirthFind more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2015 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

The End of the Road


Brother I’ve been so weary as to not even go for the kopeks
in my pocket. Missed the bus twice that way.
A sight in uriny trousers.
(She never made it to meet; what was the point?)
This gets one to the point of “funny looking,”
at which point: look out!
No one wants to eat with you.
Let us forget, for one moment, the siddhas
who eat excrement for enlightenment.
We are not in that league.
We are busy with ignorance.
Furthermore, even if each yammering kook in the public reference
were yogic, I would not want my shirt back after lending it.
Lice are not my friends. I stay up late killing them,
having nothing to discuss.
Elsewhere I have a friend who is insanely beautiful
and largely based in suffering.
Suitors take their skiffs to her shore, but turn away
before disembarking on account of all the fish guts in the water.
I sympathize with all the creatures in this story.

from Union!Find more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2009 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.