The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Jonah Winter

The Thing Which Was Like a Thing


I had a dream.
In this dream,
there was a thing
which was very much like
another thing.

Not much to go on,
I realize.
But I swear to you
that this first thing
was so much like

the thing it was like,
that you could barely
tell them apart.
They could have been

or co-workers or even twins.
Well, except for the fact
that they did not co-exist
as two things –
but as one thing

that made you think
of some other thing.
Had one of these things
bumped into the other thing
at the grocery store,

it would have said,
“Hey—wait a minute,”
except for the fact
that things can’t talk
or see or think…,

or can they?
Uh oh.
This is what happens
every time I start to think
about things.


Jonah Winter

Sestina:  Paranoia


First of all, the word “laniard.”
Innocuous enough. Denotes a piece of string that forms a connection
with some other thing. Okay. Next: The Spaniard.
Notice anything… interesting? Next: petrochemicals.
14 million gallons of ‘em, repeatedly
referred to in hushed tones. Of course, the irony

is that you think I’M nuts. Of course, the irony
is that you think I’M nuts. Sorry. I do that sometimes. Laniard,
in particular, is a word I like to use repeatedly,
especially when attempting to establish a connection
between, for instance, corporate mind control and petrochemicals
AND a certain mysterious, well-dressed Spaniard.

For instance, the whole time we’ve been sitting here, that Spaniard
has been watching us. Of course, the irony
is that we’ve been watching him, too. (When you stare into the petrochemicals,
they stare back.) Observe: The laniard
hanging from his neck. You do see the connection,
right, between the blank space where his ID card should be and the fact that he repeatedly

stands up and unzips his fly. I say “repeatedly,”
and yet the truth is, this Spaniard
has been standing there, fly unzipped, non-stop, hoping to make a “connection”
with some member of the wait-staff. Of course, the irony
is that no one wants to connect with this man OR his laniard,
which his obscene gesture cleverly diverts attention from. Petrochemicals?

You mean to say you still don’t understand how petrochemicals
provide the key to understanding everything? I have repeatedly
used the word “laniard.”
Check. I have told you of the Spaniard.
Check. And of his unusual behavior. Check. Of course, the irony
is that, from your perspective, there is no obvious connection

between these things. You cite the fact that I am locked up in this institution, with no connection
to the “real world.” Yeah, sure. All those petrochemicals
are just a little “fantasy” of mine. Right. Of course, the irony
is that the more I repeatedly
discuss this Spaniard
and his laniard,

the less you hear me. Hear me out: This laniard connection
explains why the Spaniard is behind all these these these petrochemicals.
Still not convinced? Is it the fact I say things repeatedly? Of course. Ah, the irony.




JONAH WINTER is a poet and children’s book author. He currently divides his time between Santa Fe and a small town in Pennsylvania.



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