“Whack-a-Mole” Dark Poetry by Jake Sheff

Australian Lungfish. Photo by Vassil
Whereupon the great tradition found itself,
Floundering in muck, the flagellating sea foam
And ragged, unmerciful depravity: a lungfish;
The lurid miscreant with the abandon of
A top-heavy star, or photon. It crawls, or maybe
Distills a warrantless idea straight from the cosmos
Borne, it’s rumored, of necessity for capital. 
The gasps for breaths are inimical and costly, 
But the slime-assuaging wind, forsworn 
And shapely, congeals around the bubbly, 
Piscine no-name. For so many true-believers,
A dawn is clapping out of latency, something like
Garages open to the day without people. There is,
To the lobular fins, a tender hedonism and upright
Sense of atavistic colors, like bloodless red and
Red-less rage; benumbing synesthesia worth
The fall from ease and scrumptious days without
Quizzes, teaching lessons to the echoes. Curling
Around the moment, the lungfish harps
A ditty taking shots at deities abstaining once
Again. The greenery beyond the banks are
Preening for the nascent forms rebellion strikes
At unexpected times and places, always free
But doomed to catching on. And what strange
Bedfellows the lungfish makes with structure,
Laid out on sand like a blueprint for amassing;
But still, the quiet touch of harsher tones
Summoning themselves for the occasion is
Imperceptibly housed somewhere the lungfish
Is not privy to, where destiny is daylight. Gone
Are the nights where nomenclature’s blue
Pariah wipes the slate as clean as shuttles;
The lungfish absorbs its newest memories into
Absolute refinement, takes a stuttering stipulation
Toward the avant-garde unknown to fate, until
A club is brought, by differing opinion, to its head 
That cracks, opposable as hominoid deliverance. 

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and veteran of the US Air Force. He’s married with a daughter and six pets. Poems and short stories of Jake’s have been published widely. Some have even been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing). A full-length collection of formal poetry, “A Kiss to Betray the Universe,” is available from White Violet Press.


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