Jonathan Yungkans

Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer whose work has appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, Synkroniciti and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, won the 2019 Clockwise Chapbook Prize and was published by Tebor Bach in 2021.

Duplex Beginning with a Line by Marvin Bell

He saw himself as coal, on its way to glass,
thinning through a pane of time. Scarlatti

danced window-thin under fingers, lively
and crystalline in its sharp velocity—

the velocity of intense, crystalline light—
morning’s illusion of clarity

in a breath’s elusiveness while mourning.
He was a coal seam jacketed in rock,

the surrounding strata seeming seamless
despite sun pouring through a window

in glittering arpeggios sharp as glass.
Caught in a pane, he was passing though pain,

under diamond-forming pressure. Saw himself
though a looking glass, face speckled with coal.

Line 1 taken from the poem “Days of Superman,” in the collection Mars Being Red.

Duplex: When the Moon Rises Above the Hill

Robin’s-egg sky cracks and runs cerulean
its royal-blue yolk twilight and ocean,

rolling into night, tide deeper than thought,
broader than a slow breath and free—

free as breathing once was. Gold and silver gleam,
pinpricks buoyant as the bobbing moon.

The moon smiles wide with an unmasked face,
as if a person were ocean not sky,

a wave foaming blue-white across its face
in crash and settle, gold and silver sand—

flecks of mica, shell, sandstone settling
with the density of bone, compacting

bones of broken stars and lapis whorls
of fading breath—a robin’s egg, shattering.

*Title take from the poem “Retro” by John Ashberry, in his collection Where Shall I Wander.

Duplex Beginning with a Line by Edward Hirsch

At midnight the soul dreams of a small fire,
night balmy but body shivering

in the quivering atmosphere, heat and chill.
A keenness the soul perceives as black ice

sticks and burns in dry ice’s cold clarity,
a lone lucidity—a conflagration

whose biting flare cuts through the fog it creates
in deceptive, devouring radiance.

The soul circles, perceives this fire’s bitter want,
knowing the lie but fluttering, pale winged,

on pain of immolation, knows the lie
but senses an echo of its own hunger,

a mixed resonance of fullness and bareness
which cracks at midnight in sparks from a small fire.

Line 1 taken from “Poor Angels,” in the collection For the Sleepwalkers.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN