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  4. Mine Is the First Rodeo, Mine Is the Last Accolade by Jaswinder Bolina
Mine Is the First Rodeo, Mine Is the Last Accolade

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I’m grateful to the man now sleeping with my ex-lover.
It’s true I loved her, but it’s right that someone be with her now
in the dark hour of our republic. Life is no good anymore.
There are no jobs and no money, so it’s good
that someone be with her now under street lamps filtered
through sheer curtains at night, the pale approximation of daylight
illuminating the outer slope of my ex-lover’s left thigh
and the asymmetric birthmark located there I thought
resembled the bust of Martin Van Buren,
which that man should smooch now and cherish
as I did those tender hours on the other side of time and the republic
when in the opulence of waking I’d move to the window to squint
at the dapper bodies passing which seemed then to know
where they were going. What awaited
when they arrived there. No job, no money,
I’m grateful for the man now nuzzling and elating with my ex-lover,
how she survives with him this dark hour, its sad redundancies,
the human condition like a phonograph skipping,
which is the condition of urging the same thing over
and anticipating a different result. How dull it is,
its mimeographed disasters, dull how the bankers are
offing themselves now in morning again, leaping from windows again,
the republic fretting as if it’s the first republic, the first dark hour,
and dull the way the man drives daily at daybreak away from my ex-lover
in an extravagant light believing that if he does, that when he does,
he’ll be the first to hurt her. O enduring sun.

Jaswinder  Bolina, "Mine Is the First Rodeo, Mine Is the Last Accolade" from Phantom Camera. Copyright © 2013 by Jaswinder  Bolina.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.
Source: Phantom Camera (New Issues Press, 2013)
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Mine Is the First Rodeo, Mine Is the Last Accolade

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  • Born in Chicago, poet Jaswinder Bolina earned a BA in philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago, an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English with a creative writing concentration from Ohio University. He is the author of the chapbook The Tallest Building in America (2014), and the poetry collections Carrier Wave (2007), winner of the 2006 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Phantom Camera (2013), which won the Green Rose Prize in Poetry from New Issues Press and was published in an international edition by Hachette India.

    Compared to poets as diverse as John Ashbery, James Tate, and Dean Young, Bolina investigates language, experience, and innovative writing. Poet Ravi Shankar, writing on The Best American Poetry blog, noted that Bolina “breaks new perceptual and sonic ground,” adding “he encapsulates the American South Asian immigrant experience, at least as I’ve experienced it.”

    Bolina was the 2010–2011 Elma...

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