“One Jester” & “Vertigo” by Kevin Latimer


Funeral procession and bees

ONE JESTER

all-in-all everything is on the up & up. the branches scratching on my car side door
are not looking for a fight. anger management, like many things, costs a lotta money.
i don’t have money, only bees.

*

two men standing parallel straight on duty for the ball reminiscing about childhood experiences.
the queen is late. this deer playing pretend guard does not know how to hold a gun.

*

a traffic jam on the other side of town has everyone late to work. the butcher cutting up several
cows to pay the rent. his children starving. the queen’s alarm clock malfunctioning like it’s
supposed to.

*

twirling dishrags in the air does not mean work is over. on my break discussing new movements
in labor. my work-boss yelling from across the street. i say, get back to work & then laugh. i
deserve these laughs. i am being exploited. a creature crawling out of my co-worker’s spine.
some squirming thing. work-friend’s eyes: glossed, blackened, dead.

*

there is something weird about it because you say there is something weird about it. boys with
skates they move move move. guardrail scuffs gaining sentience. the palace on alert debriefing
the guards.

*

the queen being aggravated firing all the drivers in the city. the highway is bare. the queen
entering the party.

*

this rebellious act not being rebellion until it is.
the queen issuing a decree. this deer getting to position. unemployed drivers carrying a guillotine
on their shoulders skating to the palace.


VERTIGO

i am waiting for the bus across the street from a funeral home & there’s a funeral happening &
it’s very windy & everyone outside is clapping & i don’t understand why & i don’t understand
a lot of things, until i see this: the sky is slumping like well-worn plastic & suddenly there are
balloons everywhere & everyone’s hands are like mini-thunderclaps & gospel singing in unison
& now all the balloons are popping & i am telling this to my therapist & he’s looking at me like
i’m crazy & i’m very trusting of my cognitive abilities & i know this: joy & grief are dancing on
every sidewalk & my mind is in constant vertigo & what a queer thing that is & i can’t stop
staring at this funeral procession; not even when the sidewalk crumbles beneath me & everyone
starts crying at once & i’m crying, too & i’m falling into this black pit & some man in his funeral
dress comes & catches me & he takes me into his arms & he holds me & he whispers: shh,
everything is gonna be alrigh
t & everything & everything is


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Kevin Latimer is a poet from Cleveland, Ohio. He is the co-EIC of BARNHOUSE. Recent poems in jubilat, Poetry Northwest, Passages North & elsewhere. Find him @waitkevwhat.

This week's illustrations are by Esme Blegvad (@esmerelduh), a self-taught artist from London. She was a staff illustrator at Rookie Magazine and has drawn comics and illustrations for Vice, Polyester Zine and the Poetry Review, among others. She also makes hand-drawn animations, and memes focused around the 1997 blockbuster masterpiece of modern cinema, Titanic