“Ohio” by Moriel Rothman

For the crew 

All the glory of sidewalk conversations,

four o’clock antemeridian.

Five of us: Kicking pebbles

Half bored

Half stoned

Half in love with the world

And “we ain’t leaving till six in the morn-

in” hale:

The smell of the forest

and the swell of fog, its cool lips wrapping around the cricketpulsing

field, the frisbee-floating joint-smoke of

the middle ages of our childhood.

The must

that collects in old drawers in my old room,

with old journals’ commandments: thou shalt remember

the must of old ideas.


Thou Must haveth un-believable un-speakable mind-blowing head-throwing-back heart-stopping eyeball-popping insecurity-curing intercourse…

Or at least just have sex


Thou Must groweth the coolest facial hair known or grown to man, preferably in the form of a Soul Patch…

Or at least just grow a beard

(still a few soulwrenching patches away)

You Must remain as a glass to catch drops of your friends’ spirits

(Be there and ready to pour a few back when they are low)

Like the arms of oaks embracing desperate over the far end of our flat Ohio street where Maddy and Erin pretended

to see a raccoon because they didn’t want to come inside and where

Hello Ohio hits play in my mind

from all of the times I hit play on my [brother’s] iPod:

portable speakers import from an hour South sounds of real-time nostalgia

For I [too] know Ohio like the back of my hand

Over the Rhine lacing our veins with elegies of cheapwine mourn-

in’ case by case

by fourteen dollar case.

I didn’t know what a strip pit is

but my throat still dripped tragic

Because I was a good son


and I hadn’t lost my life yet.

(Still haven’t).


Run naked, young men, on the golf course

not a golf course since a few months after

The Drinking Gourd stopped dripping stars.

Write epic, young men, through the bars of New York

the streets of India,

here back in town

Jazz Clubs in Denmark

the mountains of Peru

the coasts of the Pacific Northwest

and the alleys of Jerusalem.

Inhale your small village epic.