And what is the voice, the voice asked him.
near the metro-
& rain in his
7:35 am to catch his Manhattan-bound L train to work.
We name the voice the jeremiad, he said.
from the rear
& the MTA conductor
warning a girl
maybe 12 years of age
never to hold the doors for
She lets them go.
“The jeremiad, then,” said the voice.
But in New York when it rains the subway
is like a ward.
Hard, said the jeremiad
not to smell the flankssteaming, non?And harder yet not to smell the sores?
& 39 seated he counted them
& the passengers cheered that morning
when a young man
a woman’s black pea coat trailing behind him
beat the doors closing
& stood there panting before them & steaming.
Ask them, the jeremiad said.
And one by one in May of that year
who rode the L train to work in the morning
when he asked the following question:
have you ever wondered
on your way to Manhattan
while the train is pitching below the East River
if the water broke through
what would happen.
By May of that year
L train to Union Square
6 train to 33rd St
40 minutes roughly
& twice daily
for $27,000 annually
Outside the station that morning
in the shadow of the MetLife Building
(which he once wrote in a letter to Josie
birth name Johanna
looks like a wildebeest
lowering its head to drink from a river)
dogwood trees earning the season’s
thousands of which pink and dead in the gutter
& everywhere wafts of cum.
A war vet handing out leaflets & shouting
& how often in this town
the jeremiad said
one hears men & women shouting
get one free
no money down
But here was a man
shouting free Johannesburg
like he couldn’t give one away.
Danniel Schoonebeek is the author of American Barricade (YesYes Books, 2014) and Trébuchet, a 2015 National Poetry Series selection (University of Georgia Press, 2016). A recipient of a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from Poetry Foundation, recent work appears in Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
Max Allison co-founded the label Hausu Mountain with Doug Kaplan in 2012, and his visual art appears on the label’s album covers and packaging. His designs reconfigure small samples of pixel art from 16-bit video games made for the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis into dense collages that stretch into spreads of isometric 3D space. He records music solo under the name Mukqs and plays in the projects Good Willsmith, BBsitters Club, Pepper Mill Rondo, Lord Mute, and Crazy Bread. Max lives in Chicago; you can find him on Twitter at @Goodwillsmith.