What We Share (or, Learning to Translate) (Or, I am Ripping You Off)
Hoyt Jacobs

One about Reading Kafka:

Before walking home I sit in the pews of a Gothic Revival church reading "The Garden of Forking Paths." I return to my apartment and attempt to recreate the story. This does not work. When I remember myself remembering the church, I am bathed in the resolving light of stained glass windows and scaffolding. My footsteps echo long after I'm seated. I would prefer the use of a better memory. That is to say, one of my own invention.


A boy enters the water-closet carrying a guitar and does not come out for some time. A sound that might be music, but could also be moaning, is apparent. The people in line begin discussing what might be going on inside the room they are outside of. An employee mentions that people sometimes overdose in it. I think that the boy thinks, shooting heroin feels like holding the acoustic chamber of an instrument: pure space, no wood. The sound stops.


A conservative and a liberal discuss life. Illegal drugs come up. The first says drugs are about control since drugs are a fraction of everything and everything is about control. The second says they are about distraction from the constant becoming that is life. I realize that I can't tell one speaker from the other, since they are both coming from the same place. I choose to believe this is a joining of past and future, but right now there is no certainty of either.

Hoyt Jacobs received his MFA in poetry and translation along with his MA in TESOL from Queens College, CUNY where he taught poetry and worked as an editor for Ozone Park Journal. Jacobs most recently worked as a reading and writing tutor at New York City College of Technology, and was a member of the Oh, Bernice! writing collective. In January of 2015, an avid cyclist, Jacobs was struck and killed by a truck in Long Island City. His translation of Akhmatova's "Requiem" is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. His posthumous volume of original poetry and translations [Translating] Requiem is forthcoming from Hanging Loose Press.