Secret Traits of Everyday Things, by Jonathan Greenhause

Secret Traits of Everyday Things, by Jonathan Greenhause


Available Mid-September

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Reading Greenhause’s poems is like watching a time-lapsed flower curl into bloom. Here is a musician of language (“When it rains, utter chaos reigns,/ an amphibious mishmash/ of creeping spiders & chameleons”)—as well as a clear-eyed Yankee capable of channeling Borges and Kafka (“Your skin’s/ your identity. Your manhood’s/ a separate entity”). A homeopathic remedy for surreal times, Secret Traits of Everyday Things is a collection we need never more than now.

—Dominic Luxford, Poetry Editor, The Believer and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

These are poems from a mind that sees around corners – they describe the impossible with an enviable confidence, as though these unlikely situations are ones that Greenhause has known intimately.

—Krishan Coupland, Poetry Editor, Neon

Our developing culture needs a poet like Jonathan Greenhause who can show us how to pay attention to all those unnoticed details, those Secret Traits of Everyday Things, that enhance even what especially appears to be the most mundane of experiences. His poetry lays out, with graphic specificity, what most of us miss because our day to day lives can’t help but keep us from taking the time to explore and enjoy it all. If Greenhause’s ability helps balance us, helps us see, hear, feel, taste, and experience everything our busy and involved lives can’t always acquire, how can we not help but appreciate this sacrifice he’s made for the rest of us in the world we’ve each been given.

—Paul B. Roth, editor & publisher The Bitter Oleander Press

Sample from Secret Traits of Everyday Things

The Things We Become
A suit laid out on the couch awaiting tomorrow’s workday,
a tenth-row mezzanine seat
at the ballgame. Someone
your wife deserts as you finish reading a detective story.
The owner of a house upon which the bank forecloses
just to spite you. Your skin’s
your identity. Your manhood’s
a separate entity. You feel yourself shrinking into obscurity,
into the darkness of one in the morning out in the country
beneath morbid celestial giants
untouchable, glimmering.
Wars erupt upon your doorstep entrapped in newspaper print,
headlines screaming of casualties, of unfortunate mistakes
leading to inevitabilities.
Your cerebral cortex
is set ablaze, your processes of reason relinquished
as a bomb explodes in a place you’ve never been.
Stop worrying about
the consequences of your actions
& imagine your life in perfect symmetry, in perfect balance
with stars abandoned in a black sky unable to forget you
because it will never
even know you existed.


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