Jalen Eutsey

Two poems from Jalen Eutsey’s Bubble Gum Stadium

followed by a note on the author

To My Caring and Worried Mother

There are sliced carrots in the shape
of a cowbell because I understand
great food should sing to you.

There’s a novel about Alzheimer’s
and some magic memory pills for Grandma.

There’s an automatic food dispenser
so you don’t have to feed the dogs anymore.

There’s a travel bag with a Bible
and a plane ticket to Paris.

There’s a color-coded flow chart
describing the best way to carry
a conversation with Grandma.

In the bottom right-hand corner,
in fine print, it explains, you may
have to adopt new tactics on the fly.

I caught Grandma watching
The Hulk in Spanish today.
I just flipped to the English version.

To my caring and worried mother:
raising your voice won’t help,
there is no cure.

All the Post-it notes
on all the cabinets
should say: open with caution,
eat with intensity,
we love you
and we’ll help you
find the watch
you stuffed in the cookie jar.



After Reading Robert Desnos,

I want to hear you speak French
for twenty-four hours straight.

Talk fast, talk slowly, just talk to me.
I’ll cover my ears so I can’t understand,
my face radiating innocence.

I’ll be content with the knowledge
fruit-flavored diamonds
are falling from your mouth.

Yes, I said mouth, mouth
and not lips. You have no lips.
You left them in a mason jar
next to the brown sugar.

I hope the dogs don’t get to them.
It would be strange to see your face
springing from a dog’s bark.

I’ve set out a picnic
in the woods.

There’s a glass of wine
and a talking canary.

There’s a music-box
and all of Tolstoy.



To My Caring and Worried Mother first appeared in The Florida Review Online; After Reading Robert Desnos first appeared online at Malarkey Books.

Jalen Eutsey was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and earned a BA from the University of Miami and an MFA from Johns Hopkins University. He is a 2022-2024 Wallace Stegner Fellow. He has been the recipient of a Rubys Artist Grant and a Hatty Fitts Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2022, Nashville Review, Poetry Northwest, Harpur Palate, and The Hopkins Review.