The American Journal of Poetry
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Edison Jennings

The Rubáiyát of My Old Man


No jug of wine, a G&T,
No loaf of bread, a BLT,
Lunching at the country club,
Content among the bourgeoisie,

Possessing most of my desire:
Enough money to retire,
A cozy condo on the coast,
A divorcée to light my fire.

And though all that is doubtless nice,
It somehow doesn’t quite suffice;
My comfy middleclass excess
Doesn’t make for paradise.

The plated peerage of the links,
Are unaware that something stinks—
Their billions hedged, derivative—
And so they talk and sip their drinks,

While algorithms calculate
Stocks and bonds and interest rates,
Shuffling futures at light-speed,
And thus their fortunes dissipate.

As Madame De Pompadour
Quipped to her royal paramour
“Après moi, le deluge,”
The sky will burst, the rain will pour,

On beggars, Brahmins, in-betweens,
Children, grownups, noxious teens.
But today, the weather’s fair,
And since I have sufficient means

To spend my time (what remains)
Living on investment gains,
I’ll delight in all my vices
And have no reason to complain.



Edison Jennings

Connoisseur of Decline

In memoriam: Starkey Flythe, Jr. 1935-2013


No well-meaning friends can now rectify
the chaotic charm of your OCD
(they loved you too well to ever dare try),
and you went to your grave with your pedigree:
a curious man, a gleaner of junk,
young wife consoler and Dear Abby reader,
dashing in used clothes, attracted to punks,
a watcher of birds, a liberal heart bleeder,
and writer of stories few people read,
kind and peculiar, and now you are dead.




EDISON JENNINGS lives in the southwestern Appalachian region of Virginia. In 2017, he was awarded the Virginia Quarterly Review Conference Award in Poetry. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, Rattle, River Styx, Slate, Southern Poetry Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, TriQuarterly, Valparaíso Poetry Review, Zone 3, and other journals and anthologies. His chapbook, Reckoning, is available at Jacar Press.



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