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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Jed Myers

Jed Myers
Leave What You Know
The multitude inside you can’t see
the sea you are about to cross—
the expanse visible is just candle-lit
table, bread, wine, salt….
How shall you exhort the thousands
within you? Say the water will open
a walkway that will lead us all
into a stony wilderness
where we’ll be lost? Very
encouraging! Speak of the living
blue mural of fish on each wall
of the sky-ceiling’d hall! That will incite
the children—they’ll run ahead
and the overprotective old will overcome
dread to come after them. Tell them
soon they will perish, as they watch
the candles diminish and witness
the disappearance of the last bread.
Yes, they need to be reminded
in the voice of the senses—if we’re going
to enter the unknown, let’s go
now, while we still might love
with our arms, our eyes, our tongue,
while the hard light still strikes
our sun-worn brow, our aching
work-torn shoulder. Waiting
until the straw-thick mortar has set,
till all the fracture’s fragments have knit,
the inner arguments all settled,
no more doubts about the miracles
bristling in your heart to get out—
that would amount to a live burial
in these familiar hills. Inside you
the frightened, the shrewd and the foolish
bold, the ones who will fall
time and again for the gold, dreamers
who dance with the angels, angels
you still must wrestle, the ghosts
blowing and threading blue glass jewels
in the ghetto you have yet to visit
among the canals of your soul—rouse them all
now, and go. Leave what you know
on the shore. Or else, who can be sure,
your own dust may never forgive you.
Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. He studied poetry at Tufts University, then trained in medicine and psychiatry. He maintains a private therapy practice and teaches at the University of Washington Medical Center. He began seeking publication of his poems following the events of September 11, 2001. Two of his collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), were released in 2014. He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, The Tusculum Review, Sanskrit, Briar Cliff Review, Quiddity, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review, The Ilanot Review, JAMA, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. Jed brings poetry and music together in varied collaborations, and he hosts the long-running music-and-poetry cabaret NorthEndForum.


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