Delineation of Man
1. Stick and Stones “Fight like a man.” Or on the DMZ, it was “Fight tonight” Posted above urinals Next to the approved Haircuts in North Korea. There are 28. Monthly posters circulate. February’s poster, A midnight aerial snapshot: The North, a single star in midnight, The South, a constellation. My 21st birthday Was my first day, boots on ground. I celebrated by inventorying our 1068. A black G-Shock hung around an O-Shit handle. Specialists Johns and Jouriles Found it first But gave it to me: Here, it’s your birthday. 2. Dog days Nureongi, the yellow ones, Born into XL chicken coops, Red like framed autumn leaves From 1953. The ancient wood splintered Like memory, Nine months swirling into The subconscious. Except for sedimentary scenes, The yellow ones’ death shriek, Teaching praying hands, God doesn't exist here. God, a neighbor Of domestic abuse, Who could hear violence, But never calls the police. 3. Auto Our bodies a mid-air T-Bone Collision, The NCOs recoiled Test-dummy body kicked Onto Korean summer soil. My bumper feet turned horizontal, Trying to break armor And his ribs behind the midnight-tinted window. Something about sprinting full speed, Leaving my feet to kick an NCO In the chest, exposes the fact: Memories are watermarked with violence. A Hennessy-fueled summer Night in Austin. Only remember because Bulger slapped my glasses off my face. Labor Day weekend in Houston, Sealed in hotel manilla, Where we told a new private To tuck in his fucking dog tags. Overnight in Arlington, Cataloged under skipped bar tabs, Bulger threatening to dine and ditch through The imaginary bathroom window, Leaving me with the bill. A catalyst to fight In the hotel hallway, Bulger telling a voyeur, Go back in your fucking room. I forgot we laughed About how I fell face first Over a median’s hedge. Why was that even there? 4. Stories My life’s stories collected, A novel colored in dead winter leaf, Its cracked spine Glued together by icy hot. The pages Texas-night black, Words billowing like autumn leaves, Only one a page: Brotherhood, Why, Alone, Empathy. Calligraphy jotted With opaque ink, The few letters’ bodies Rented from memory’s library. This novel, bought with my crimson life savings, Now being scanned at a college bookstore, Its rendered value $12.17. At least I can get a Hungry-Man for dinner.
Jacob Reisinger is a senior at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio; he is pursuing a degree in English Creative Writing. While his academic research primarily focuses on veteran literature and poetry, he enjoys spending time with his siblings and reading at Carlson Library.