Dujie Tahat

6 ways to use a bank lobby pen

First, to write the name of
!100!!50!!25!!5!the pen’s bank
!200!!50!!25!!5!on a loan
!50!!25!application at another bank, to scribble
out the name
!50!!25!!10!of a thing
!50!!25!!10!or a friend upon
!25!!10!!10!which rests a precipice
!25!to write out a preposition, to stockpile
words in a word bank to with-
!10!!5!draw from over
!100!!25!the course of being
!25!!10!!10!a language
being. Second,
!25!!10!to poke holes in
!50!!10!!5!the plastic wrap
!100!!50!!25!over a cup of apple cider
!100!!50!!25!vinegar, to make a trap for fruit
!100!!50!!25!flies drawn to a sweetness so sticky
!50!!10!!10!it’s sour. Third,
!25!!10!!10!to be badly mistaken for
!50!!10!a blade or
!50!!10!!10!a barrel
!100!!25!in a split
!200!!25!!5!by cops,
!200!!50!!25!!10!!5!to be deadly wrong.
!100!!10!Fourth, to hold between the curl
!50!of your upper lip and nose,
to pirouette around
!50!!25!a thumb knuckle,
!100!!25!!10!!5!to make rubber in the eyes
!100!!50!!25!of a child, to play
!200!!25!!10!!10!to play
!200!!50!!25!!10!!10!at all. Fifth, as a lance
!100!!50!!25!for mice to wield
!50!!10!in theatrical jousting
re-enactments at the rodent renaissance
!25!!10!faire. Sixth, if a mouse’s tail is long-
!50!!25!er than the pen,
!100!!25!!10!!10!watch it
!200!make the rat
!200!!50!!25!!10!!5!a knight.

Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Sugar House Review, The Journal, The Southeast Review, Narrative, Bennington Review, Poetry Northwest, Nimrod, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Dujie has earned fellowships from Brooklyn Poets, Hugo House, and Jack Straw Writing Program. He serves as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit and cohosts The Poet Salon podcast. He got his start as a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks Grand Slam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices.
  • Coda
    Simone Muench & Jackie K. White