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Join us to celebrate the publication of Daniel Khalatschi’s Tradition (McSweeney’s, 2015), and Marc Rahe’s On Hours (Rescue Press, 2015).
Daniel Khalastchi is the author of two books of poetry, Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011) and Tradition (McSweeney’s, 2015). A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, his poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including Colorado Review, Fence, Iowa Review, jubilat, Ninth Letter, Octopus Magazine, and Best American Experimental Writing 2014. He lives in Iowa City and is the co-founder and managing editor of Rescue Press.
Marc Rahe received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of The Smaller Half (Rescue Press, 2010) and On Hours (Rescue Press, 2015), and his poems have appeared in iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, jubilat, notnostrums, PEN Poetry Series, Petri Press, and elsewhere. Marc lives in Iowa City and works for a human service agency.
Jew and I Travel to the Beat of a Different Drum
The conversion Rabbi takes me to a remodeled Clinique
counter and tells me to enjoy the samples. I use the scruffing
lotion, the intense hydrating moisturizer, and after a few
minutes of informative blackhead discussion with two elderly
female aestheticians, we tweeze my eyebrows and thank
everyone for their time. You look rested, the Rabbi says as we
situate our gift bags in the trunk of his Lincoln. You look fierce
and assertive and that’s going to help when we get to shul. For the rest
of the afternoon I am treated to hand-jobs and head
massages. We go to a Russian bath, a suit-fitting, and end
the day stripped of our shirts, discussing flattering wet/dry
hairstyles with a barbarette we call “Tina.” I ask for a hot
shave but the Rabbi shakes his head. We need to show you have
the soul of a carburetor. Shaving, he continues, is the mark of a man
who still has a mother. The Rabbi tells Tina to put the day’s
services on his tab, and we take a rough road back to the
synagogue and park. While I futz with the radio, the Rabbi
reaches into his breast pocket and removes a thick manila
envelope beating with cash. Get out, he says, and we walk to
the rear exit of the building and position my body to look
naturally negligent. It is hard to stand with my feet facing
each other, but I am assured with confidence this is how
things must begin. Before he leaves, the Rabbi stuffs my
pants and mouth with crisp new money and a Sinatra
cassette. When the ladies come out of Maariv, they will fight to see who
gets to take you home. But I already have a wife, I mumble through
the paper. These women won’t care, the Rabbi says. They will make
you apricot kugel and strong babies and the whole time they’ll only be
thinking how much they are lifting themselves to the Lord.
originally published in Jubilat
I am the windows
that look out on windows.
I am the gaze. I am the unreal
bodies behind the drapes.
Mine is the black counter
wiped down again and again.
I am a caretaker;
I worry from afar.
I worry a sore.
do you go, after?
Between privacies is the dark
of a key-filled lock.
From inside my gem my look
is hidden, each face
familiar when facing away.
originally published in PEN Poetry Series