Mark Dow

April 20, 2019 Dow Mark


That was a malaise. We call that malaise.

When that old man said I lost my baby fat

since last time he saw me, that’s malaise.

But when you asked in front of everybody

if I get drunk a lot — it’s legal in France,

you know — that was genânt. It’s gee,

ee, en, ey with that arrow on top, en, tee.

Malaise is more like you bother me: tu

mets des malaises. Genânt is bother, too,

but more like awkward. Like my friend,

he’s not my boyfriend but my friend,

he introduced me to his other friends,

“This is Charlotte,” and then we’re like

“OK, nothing to say,” just standing there.

That’s genânt. It’s kind of hard to explain

because you don’t have it exactly in English like that.

Mark Dow‘s Plain Talk Rising (poems) was published in Spring 2018. He is also author of American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons (California).