JeFF Stumpo | Against Itself Cannot Stand

AICS_cover front

Against Itself Cannot Stand: Poems by JeFF Stumpo. Number 3.05 in the Seven Kitchens Press Editor’s Series.

Cover design by the author.

Release date: February 18, 2018 [100 copies]
30 pages

JeFF Stumpo has been a bookstore owner and a part-time professor, a slam poet and an apologetic telemarketer. He is the author of five chapbooks and a spoken word album, yet remains the prologue to his daughter’s novel. JeFF Stumpo

The Hulk’s Lamentation

“‘But why are they burning their own ships?!!! Why are they  
destroying their OWN tea.’–said none of the history books.” 
–justified agitator (@Awkward_Duck) 

Reuben tells me people used to cake on ashes 
to appear dead when mourning. They’d pull  
out chunks of their beards, shave their heads. 
A procession of keening women would follow,  
not just the body or bodies, but the mourners  
all day. All night. They’d rend their clothes, 
so it says in the Bible. The language of lament  
is largely forgotten in our culture, he says,   
and we know that we’re not talking about Baltimore 
when he says that. Dan says the tearing 
of clothes is a metaphor for grief, repentance,  
and sometimes anger, and Gabrielle says  
we’re forgetting about The Incredible Hulk.  
How his anger is his power, how his clothes 
stretch and rip, how those shredded pants  
do nothing to stop whatever damage 
this month’s villain has already done, but damn  
if they’re not just part and parcel of   
The Hulk’s Lamentation. When I say we
forget that anger and sadness go together, 
I know we’re not talking about Baltimore  
like it’s another planet, like it’s the planet 
the Illuminati send the Hulk to  
when they decide he’s too dangerous for Earth.  
They load him in a rocket and fire him off,   
and when he crashes, the aliens there 
make him a slave until he rises up
and becomes the leader of the rebellion,   
The Green Scar, Sakaarson, Worldbreaker. 
How Scott says that you can’t call it rebellion 
on the other side of the world and
crime when it’s the same thing here. The Hulk, 
he comes back at the end of that story.   
He’s angry. When I say you wouldn’t like him 
when he’s angry, I might be talking
about Baltimore, but are you sure  
who I’m talking about when I say we?