Jessie Janeshek

Dusty Upstairs

The clown dog and Polaroid give me a mission.

Emzara looks stately. Her scarf smells like fish.
     Her wax doll lies toothless, hens keeping vigil.

She tells me “stop picking,” but, God, I distrust
     lock myself in the old fridge
     where we once interred Mr. Freeze and ate Kix.

All boats float down to the death drive
     when you call the ones who’ve passed on
     summon old bikers in leather to howl
     when stray dogs can’t smell the bodies.

Sunsplit, Holistic

So you’re tired of the liondark
blear, my sad culprit?
Cut to the lake
spaying your deposition.

Silkscreen fonts
scream                  Hollywood                Memphis

Jaime smokes on the steps
broken foot euphemistic
swizzles the messenger’s nest.

Dirtiest secret      clangs the flank of each RV

this heist                the next day
the rest of your life.

Happenstance, Purple Version

     One of us, Jaime, is pregnant.
We shoot her Istanbul-blue balloons
     we sex her red chickens so they lay lime eggs.

     We’re outside in the dark on cold sand
                               just a chip of a moon
can’t say we coo                               at a dog or a baby.

     Once three girls reading
                                              palms on a dining car:

                                                                           Dark Uncle Thick                sits upstairs, ballgame on
                                                                            our parents                spit bullets                over bad plumbing
                                                                                           hands off the intricate
                                                                                                                         Christmas tree train
                                                                                           a whole town under there…
                                                                                                                                        plastic, no hair.

Track: our skull choreography
     our typicality.
                Track our rainy pussies                as we juice all over
                                                                                 red jelly beans
                                                           Dark Uncle Thick’s              startling debut
                                                             his coke-fried brain         his blueberry bones.

                                              We’re the bunny in the iron lung.                Track our passionate smell.
                                                             Track our bite-sized bruises
                                                         since it can’t hurt enough
                                                             to sing in the bright.
                                                                                                      Track our tail mostly white.

I’m Your Best Thing

then I spend this half winter
on the frostiest sand dune
yip rhombohedrally
forests away from unlacing the bouclé
choking the ass of your burgundy missile.
My breasts tassel, and lines
burn this vessel
no time to call swan! or swim.
You miss my caress
wear higher powers
pray for a stroke.
I’m still young enough
to swoop through the dresser
for your hardest pink Marlborough carton
sip whiskey and cradle
your darkest lung in this manger.

We Were the Center

                of everyone’s humility
                                                             the dark pigs, the pink constellations.

                               The cats were outside                                    eating apostrophes
                                              or getting killed.

We masturbated                                              with a glass eye
     one slimy finger.                                              We twisted our wrists
                                              virile tidbits      brought our thoughts hard together

                                                            we insisted, head south
                                                                                           replaced holy relics            (they’d broken or eaten)
                                                                                           w/ any old skeleton
                                                                                           decked it in violet.


Money’s symbolic
sex is symbolic.
     We use the Bible                      to hurt other people
                               ask how to improve.

You have a wife but you laugh
                                                             as you lick us

                                                             and we wish you loved us
                                                             no blue in our secret
                                                             of iron-on transition.

                               There’s a transparency                a conversion to loyalty
                                                             and we hate ourselves
                                                                            and we hate our body
                                              but we love draft beer and the Lord.

Something Worse

I’m vomiting greaseballs
too loudly to hear
when your ghost speaks to me
on the phone from Hawai’i.
Disappointment is
or is not pyramidal.
Mother has spectacles
furbelow bones.
Daddy’s refusing Elvis in Memphis
then Mozambique.
I drink Chimay
sobbing extensively
kissing him so hard
the piano bar crushes
glass in my fingers.
Song after song
ferries odd absolution
but this is no place
for Russians or spring.
Then Mother descends
in the spider-pink nightie again.
cursing our house to burn down.

Jessie Janeshek's first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).
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