Jacob Reisinger

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. 

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