Jon Loomis

Paper $16.95
(ISBN 978-0997335507

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Alien abduction, reincarnation, earthquake, love, death, middle age, children, the end of the world—Jon Loomis's new collection covers a lot of ground. From the quiet and contemplative lyric voice of "The Past" and "If I Come Back" to the wild, unrepentant personae of "Jon Loomis, Inc." and "Shut Up and Eat Your Jellyfish," these are poems as necessary as they are brave. The Mansion of Happiness is a love song to the teetering present, facing an ominous future with courage, candor, and mordant humor.

"In conversation with past selves and the incessant pull of time, these direct and honest poems take place in the small moments of gratitude as well as those biting moments of sarcasm and denial. Jon Loomis is a poet unafraid to praise life while still leaning in and saying that dark thing that circles the chest. Smart, buoyant, and refreshingly self-aware, these poems are real and necessary."
Ada Limón

"Jon Loomis's The Mansion of Happiness is irreverent—about the right things. He has a mischievous sense of humor (something Mr. Frost recommends), and there's a wild vein of darkness just short of too dark—about the right things—running through these poems. This brilliant and moving book will do something to you."
Thomas Lux

"We wake and sleep, we think about children or wives, we move through the streets and houses and towns in which we reside, and in those places, poems are waiting. Jon Loomis's gift as a poet is to show us that the true miracles live right in front of us. With his wild intelligence, humor, and command of form, Loomis's poems reveal the world of the unseen that would remain hidden without the generous mind uncovering for us what was always there. The Mansion of Happiness is an instruction manual for living a life of appreciation, contemplation, and joy."
Mark Wunderlich


Whitefish Lake, Fifth of July

All afternoon the ski-boats whomp
and roar, bow-waves curling the lake's cut skin. 
Ecstatic, the dog yelps, leaps from the slanted dock,

swims after her ball. Osprey call and pileated call,
loon crying again and again from its shadowed
cove: lake as asylum, where you go

when you're losing your mind. Then evening,
magenta scarf tossed over the day's blue lampshade. 
Time for a drink, thank God, time for the bugs

to devour us in earnest. And dinner, at last,
and children's bedtime, and almost a moment
of peace, when the idiot kid next door

screams a leftover bottle rocket into the trees,
then another, cracking like sniper fire
every five minutes or so. But who doesn't love

an explosion? What we've always done best. 
Our savage religion. Our smoking answer to everything.


The Past

It bathes in your shadow. 
It lies down in the book
as you read. Warm nights,

it waltzes the drapes—
cicada-grind in the treetops,
the window's violet

mouthful of sky. 
When you dress
it stares out from the mirror,

it stands in the closet
between your pressed clothes.
When you sleep, it writes

in your journal—
come back, come back
at the top of each page.


Past Lives

When I was big I lived
in San Diego, Henry said—
in a tall dark house

with no windows. 
I had a dog, and other parents
who were nice. And I said Henry,

when was this? He was three,
had never been to San Diego. 
Before I died, he said,

and came to live with you.
Later, you said maybe
he was blind in a past life—

that would account for the house,
and the dog. Well,
I don't believe in all that.

I've only imagined the stranger
peering out now and then
through the eyes of my son. 

Asleep now, sweet boy
who won't be left alone
in the dark—who's in love

with everything that shines.


Copyright © 2016 by Jon Loomis. May not be reproduced without permission.

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