Daniel Poppick

August Notebook

Your Jesus is not metaphoric, but actual trash. I don’t mean this pejoratively. Your Jesus just
happens to be a bag of garbage. These are the facts. For what it’s worth, I believe that this
trash’s love is real.


His voice was an indentation in the air around his mouth, like a pile of rusted wheels through
which honeysuckle cuts.


MY OTHER PORSCHE IS A FORESKIN, read the sticker he received from an anti-circumcision
group handing them out in Union Square as he left the office.

But where would he put this sticker?


Office ekphrasis: the typo in the product description for the designer throw pillow that
boasts of delivering “an object lesion in luxury” might be beautiful. But it is not art.

Office ekphrasis: the overt language of the ferns on either side of the sofa. You can see their
typos all over the floor.

Office ekphrasis: a sculpture of a chair that is also just a chair. A chair that is art’s typo.

When you sit in it, you are described.


Parable of the Eclipse

Union Square flooded with people taking a break from their jobs as if for the first time. It
had been difficult to find the tinted glasses for this activity earlier in the week—every store
was sold out. But in the end, people shared. Someone handed me a pair, which I gave to
someone else. One by one, all of my colleagues filed out of our building to join the masses
on the street, the municipal flowers wilting in the punishing August heat under a spray of
crescent-shaped shadows. The only person who didn’t come outside was our boss.




Parable of Business Casual

The employee squints at a pyramid shimmering in the distance.

A sphinx sits over him, blindly pawing the ground in search of a lost phone.

“I don’t even have anything to wear to this,” he sighs, the sun beating down on him as the
sand stretches out ahead.


I never listen to music so carefully as when I have other work to do.


At the beach that weekend, bits of trash floating in the waves, and a bell chiming from a
flavored ice cart. I hum along with it as I swim.

Skipping a stone over the surf, noting the number of rings running back to greet me.


No art, no melody, no time that is not bound up in some dark labor.

Daniel Poppick is the author, most recently, of Fear of Description (Penguin, 2019), a winner of the National Poetry Series. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a copywriter and co-edits the Catenary Press.