Poem: "Depression Glass"

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J. D. Smith



"Depression Glass"

It brings to mind antique stores more than an era that broke families’ backs and turned breadwinners into apple vendors and pencil peddlers. That era cantilevers over the third and fourth generation: in its shadow company vice presidents buy second-hand furniture, whatever brand of beer is on sale.

In several colors, often translucent, it seldom offers a crystal emblem of the clinical state that flattens the self beneath the world, or eclipses the world behind the self. It is, instead, a pink platter or white hen.

(Objects will not always rise to their names.)

It is only sand melted to a dangerous syrup, tinted according to a commission or a whim, molded into plain and useful shapes conveying thousands of meals over decades, or fancy forms retired on sideboards.

This is a convenient example. There are others.

The distance between greater things and what they are called is spanned by a sadness that has yet to find a shape, or a vessel in speech.



J.D. Smith’s third collection of poetry, Labor Day at Venice Beach, was published in 2012, and his first humor collection, Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth, was published in March 2013. He was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007. Smith’s work in other genres includes the 2008 children’s book The Best Mariachi in the World and the 2011 essay collection Dowsing and Science. His one-act play “Dig,” produced in London in 2010, was adapted for film and screened at film festivals in 2011 and 2012.


© 2012 J. D. Smith, used by permission

Technoculture Volume 3 (2013)