The Gutting and other works by Jonathan Kline

Poet, playwright, painter and storyteller, Jonathan Kline lives in New Orleans. He grew up in Northern Michigan. He received an MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in Time Art. Jonathan has performed in Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, New Orleans, Dublin and Cork Ireland. His poetry has recently appeared in YAWP: a Journal of Poetry & Art.


Things That Float

Dave told me there were Neanderthals beneath the sewers of Paris
Feral hogs in City Park
That the parrots were gone from Gentilly
and that cat turd on the back step could have been the northern star
I wanted to bash those pumpkin heads all over my neighbors yard
Weed-whack every sunflower in Chalmette
Let the flood house clock's eyes be my witness
I told the whole damn city to go to hell
Dave told me it is better to sleep pointed in
Better still if your room has a window
It is time to grind my poems into a balm
and learn to play the ukulele
My wife's aunt was a tropical bird
Washed away in the great disaster of Aribi
I make this shit every year and nobody ever gets it
So I assembled thirty thousand puppet heads to tell my story
And whispered a poem in each of their ears
Dave told me of all the things that float
The hardest to see are bodies


The Gutting

when we arrived in our boots
blue rubber gloves and
bleach wipes
we couldn't see you through the stench
of upturned jars of rancid mustard
broken bottles of
balsamic vinegar
chardonnay and champagne
frozen bags of jambalaya
turned to maggots
cellophane sealed packages of hamburger meat
as gray as the slime they sat in
then I glimpsed your right eye
in the clocks pendulum
still counting out time before wrath and wash
and for a moment we laughed at you
your collection of cats
the sad photos of your ex-husband above the scum line
when we reached the living room
broke the windows
butchered the carpet into fat slabs
of feted carrion
wicker balls rolled out of nowhere
detective stories
heavy furniture
plastic flowers and
ugly glass elephants
then came the sobbing
of self help books and bibles
Emotional Healing... the board game,
The Song of Solomon...
A Christian Guide to Making Love to Your Husband
All Night Long,
guides to weight loss and anger management
hand made quilts
children's toys
and the soft bones
of things
when we dragged out your mattress
and knitting supplies
you were complete
standing naked in the mold
reading your journal
as I threw your bath towel
out on to the heap


Four Days After

Beyond reason is the untroubled back stroke
my soul purpose assessed to the surface
He's just retarded enough
they thought
So my student was sent to get provisions
On his way home
he met a woman with two floating children
How beautiful !
he thought
to be young enough to float
when all the world is a water park
That's what I want
to bob behind my mother
limp as a bag of onions
A tethered baby asleep and afloat
in a ten toed paradise of stink
I should probably try harder
Stop pussyfooting around
Tattoo my equations on camber pot
And just listen
The streets between the houses
Are speaking in tongues
If I were going to plan a disaster
I 'd start spilling milk and sinking cue balls
Until the whole damned thing turned into a big mud pie
Then I 'd convince movie stars to play an accordion dirge
While the President pissed his name in the scum
But I sure as hell wouldn't kill everything
Dump a lake on somebody's back yard
Until the whole rat-less city turned into a carnival lagoon
Where grief floats lifeless
And simpletons envy the dead


The Moon Is So Beautiful

I sit through this aftermath
on the roof top waiting
to see that puff of smoke.
Waiting for the postman to bring a cup of tealeaves
that I might read how much you care.
If I had a tin can full of bones
I would scatter them out in hexagrams
and shout who's responsible for the catastrophe of my life!
I look to the horizon
for a naked runner to bring me rhyming poems
and photographs of your child.
I spoke to your wife,
she was tired and
said you were busy
planning a vacation,
that you had a new friend.
I told her I wasn't a thin and needy
snow bound waif
begging coins and matchsticks from strangers,
that I wasn't crying for your long stained shoulder
or your gingerbread house made of crutches,
not this time…
Just sitting on a rooftop
watching the tide seep out of New Orleans
alone with my wife's family
grieving by the phone.