Hangdog Alcaics for Steel Bridge on Erev Yom Kippur

“These are my honours of descent: I have no others: and I have thanked God sincerely that I have not, because, in my judgment, a station which raises a man too eminently above the level of his fellow-creatures is not the most favourable to moral, or to intellectual qualities.” Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

“Everyone was very happy, overwhelmingly certain that the world was a good place and we a notable set of people.” George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

This bridge (if bridge it is) is where certainty –
(If moral, folly’s birthplace) – can congregate.
  Fatigue’s the enemy of manners,
    Stomping on history’s metatarsals
As Old Town Chinatown’s hope, viz. amnesia’s
Midwife, arrives with Ixchel, her figurine.
  Lloyd District stands by like a suffix.
    In the Rose Quarter, Kol Nidre stumbles.
With pinpoint pupils, summer’s eudaemonist
Makes limoncello out of our suffering.
  This double-decker has two meanings:
    One is a language of stems and endings;
The other’s ripe and good in the evening.
The Oregonian called it God’s limerick.
  Thus waylaid, the Willamette River
    Turned to reality’s funny pages.

Jake Sheff

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and veteran of the US Air Force. He's married with a daughter and a crazy bulldog. Poems and short stories of Jake’s have been published widely. A full-length collection of formal poetry, “A Kiss to Betray the Universe,” is available from White Violet Press. He also has two chapbooks: “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing) and “The Rites of Tires” (SurVision).