Thursday, April 18, 2019


Bar Stool Alien
By Jake Marmer

What I miss about my world the most?
There were these purple rocks you could talk to
and feel heard. You knew you were talking to the rock –
old purple rock
slimy, heavy –
you’d never touch one or bring it home –
it’s in bad taste
to be seen with one of them.

But when you needed to talk
there was nothing in the world
like those purple rocks.
Trick is you gotta be absolutely sure
you’re talking
to the rock, and it’s utterly meaningless –
the second you give up like that
their ears perk up
like boners.

Look, there’s a chance purple rocks
are the way my people decompose:
it’s our version of the skull bones,
maybe. I once dated a girl,
she had purple rock eyes. Tried talking
to her eyes the way we talk to rocks and I think
she figured it out because she blinded herself the next morning.
It’s not at all uncommon in my world
but I was still shaken.
You think you know everything there is to know about a person
then, a thing like this.
When I was a kid, my great-uncle said purple rocks were eggs
that will never hatch.

What I do down here, in your world devoid
of purple rocks? Talk to my beer. Don’t feel heard for shit
but I like the taste. And I think purple rocks,
if I were to ever taste them, would be similar –
a bit alive and a bit dead –
sour and bitter
that’s why I come here every night –
sure, you’re just another face at the bottom of my glass
but I once heard that ritual preceded myth
one has to keep talking

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Jake Marmer is a poet, performer, and a high school teacher. He is the author of three poetry collections: "Jazz Talmud" (Sheep Meadow Press, 2012), "The Neighbor Out of Sound" (Sheep Meadow Press, 2018), and "Cosmic Diaspora" (Station Hill Press, forthcoming 2019). Born in the wild Ukrainian steppes, Jake considers himself a New Yorker, even though he now lives in the Bay Area.


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