Two Poems by Philip Jason

The Deep Ka-Ching of the Heart

in the two-to-the-eighty-first-powerth version
of the bible, a genie
grants us the wish we have for
so long wanted; we have an infinite
number of wishes. We open
our mouths, ready to fill our lives with joy.
A parade of bees emerges,
each bee dragging behind itself
a small banner
bearing the name of a sneaker brand.

awash in the light of a billion television suns,
one is never truly naked.
Around us at all times, the ghosts
of fallen acreage,
each of which is a thousandth
of a Fahrenheit degree
haunting the atmosphere.
But everything’s ok. The Alchem X Corporation,
makers of Perfectachil and Gamurmurex,
are working on a new drug
that makes us happy
when seeing the heart for the first time in an X-ray
makes us sad.

We wish there was a drug
that would make other people happy for us.
The genie appears and gives us a paper bag
filled with coupons. Each of them
entitles us to remember
a single event from our lives.
The one we use
takes us back to the crib.
Above us, our mother sways gently, singing
what is either a bee song or a soft
commercial jingle. The dead trees
gather at her shoulders. we are confused
by the top of you, they whisper. we’ve never
seen its kind. is your head
a box filled with someone else’s branches
or a garden
growing wonder out of light?


Platonic Ambivalence, Offered Warmly

the second heart yearns for a home
built upon the principles of the second heart:
that no wild thing should be too wild
to comprehend, that the ocean waves
may only signify a shifting tranquility,
that there must always be occasion
for lost things to come groveling back, etc…
but two points: 1. the second heart
is wrong. I cannot pour
a love-like sludge
into the abandoned exoskeletons
of my childhood
and call the resulting form a life.
And 2. sometimes, a good day
is being brave enough on a bad day
to make room for other people in the world.

On another note,
in spaces where humans once read books,
there is now only the pleasure
of watching people lie to themselves
on television. Or maybe lie
is the wrong word. What is the word
for when people who have no truth
say anything?


Philip Jason’s stories can be found in Prairie Schooner, The Pinch, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, and J Journal; his poetry in Spillway, Lake Effect, Hawaii Pacific Review, Pallette and Indianapolis Review. He is the author of the novel Window Eyes (Unsolicited Press, 2023). His first collection of poetry, I Don’t Understand Why It’s Crazy to Hear the Beautiful Songs of Nonexistent Birds, is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. For more, please visit

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