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Jacob Scheier


Jacob Scheier is a Toronto born poet, essayist, and journalist. He is the author of two poetry collections with ECW Press in Canada: the Governor General’s Award winning More to Keep us Warm (2007) and Letter from Brooklyn (2013). He is also the author of the nonfiction ebook. My Never-Ending Acid Trip, published with The Toronto Star. His poems have been published in journals and anthologies across North America and the UK, including in Prism International (Canada), Rattle (U.S.), and the anthology The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear Press, UK), to name but a few. His poetry has also been nominated for a National Magazine Award in Canada and longlisted for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Poetry Prize. He was also the co-winner of a New York Community Media Alliance Award for Best Feature Article. He has been a regular contributor to Toronto’s alternative weekly NOW Magazine and New York City’s The Indypendent. His personal essays have been published or are forthcoming in Brick (Canada), The Sun (U.S.), Joyland (U.S.), and The Globe and Mail (Canada). He is the former co-nonfiction editor of The Journal: the literary journal of The Ohio State University.


And then Job Answered God from Inside The Whirlwind They were both Caught Inside of


I am of small account: what shall I answer thee?

— Job



I will kvetch in the bitterness of my soul.

Sentenced to Bright Sheol. Punished for suffering.

Meds soften feelings to trees. Gnawed rootlessness. Exiled

from myself. Diaspora

without rivers

to weep beside. I weep

in the shower

by the water fountain

I weep into paper cups of pink and blue medicinal jewels till they dissolve

to dust and ashes.


Imagine Sisyphus too weak to push.

You take the myth too literally. Punished to some curve of corridor

to roll an absence of self

back and forth.

Meal-time gives form to the day and the waiting

for the daily assessment

sometime

between eight and six. Waiting

for nothing

to change.


Is there not a limit on suffering or suffering. What is my end

that I should be patient.

You do not ask. You ask


the answer translated to symptom

depression talking

as though it were someone else

dybbuk possession a symptom


But what do we really live for?

Or do we live?

The question worthy of clinical observation.

You do not ask.

Reasons are symptoms.

You see my calamity and are afraid

Reuptake faith. The synaptic sea

in the well mind sequins with serotonin.

So dense there isn’t space

to weep beside. Am I the sea

or the sea monster?


When the patient responds marginally,

administer lightning.

You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters

that have passed away.


If I am sick

turn the key

of the receptor’s hushed casket

Cut my brain down the middle.

Centre of normalcy.

Unglue my brain.

Pull out the cortex like fiber glass.

Insulate against pain.


Worthless physicians all of you!

May you lament in your belly — a klog dir in boykh.

Zol dir shnaydn di kishkes — a stabbing pain in your guts.

A thunderbolt in your sides. A duner dier in di zaytn.

Oysdarn zol brain bay dir der moyekh

should dry up. Zolst kakn Shit

mit blu un mit ayter Blood and Pus.

Zolst kakn mit Blut un mit ayter meshugenem Maniac

zol men oysshraybn un dikh araynshraybn

should be crossed off the register

of Madmen and you should be inscribed in his place


Zolst onkumen tsu mayn mazl—You should have my luck.


Oh, that I had one to listen to me (Here is my signature,

let the Almighty answer me!)


If not God then Leviathan.

this earth is the whirlwind.




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