Poems: Jax NTP

how to pivot when you’re paralyzed

there’s a giant temple on hazard and new hope street
blue reptile and green mazing skeletons, keepers of time
how long can you sit there with the pain before you try to fix it?

it’s hard to admit that my role in your life is up for grabs
in the capacity of; as being, a slow careening full of sweat and spit
valknuts are not for the living, they are for fallen warriors

you won’t know that you’re in the pivotal months
until you are no longer in them aubergine aubergine
truth is a social construct, if it’s not visceral, it’s not satisfying

mosshead warbonnets are like exposed frost bit ear lobes
intentional cognitive dissonance is clarity with a mask on, once
you are able to draw circles around the pain with elongated ooo sounds

sadness tinged with liberation is the best kind of closure
i’m not vulnerable i’m ripe and receptive, a poem works
not by referring to what actually happens in the external world

but by calling it into play, i want to exist in a space, a frisson of excitement
where there are no monsters nor martyrs just orange patchwork
grave of fireflies and the gravity of urine


hysterectomy wanted

at twenty i was certain i didn’t want to be the wanted maiden
i wanted to be with her — prepositions are tricky when mother

tongues are devoid of them, of course, being off course hetero
proposes problems when you’re off white too

letters are excrement of identities being last is better
than being the only child and choosing not to reproduce

since i wanted a hysterectomy and pickled kumquat skin
assimilation is internalized hatred the black crows of self erasure

superstition allows for closure clarity and bridges distance
small strategies about the self come easy with acute pain

an ending of a poem makes transformation seem possible
a riddle is inertia’s plaything prolonging death, dear climax

if i were a boy i could easily reject reproduction
lineage is a reminder of its own religion risk

only if you control the dice since forgiveness
is a motionless act of gypsum light and morning why is it

almost impossible to absent yourself from a collective fate
without familiarity of my assigned gender i am less


money is motive is immobility in bones

the inability to touch something already too near
not another fisherman wife’s dream suddenly i

wanted to know if i am too sudden for you events half
opened when chance turn revolving door the seduction

of how darkness snakes beyond our windshield all this
traveling for what to say we did this we were there

emptiness as an anecdote of clarity
but what is the antidote for hearsay

language as a healing beyond skin
kerosene as a cure for numbness

to clean a kitchen cabinet as if it is not yours
disinfectant woodgrains you forget

money is the motive – how to level dumb feet and feats
clamber brazen teach those you do not keep

a mushrooming of words held in poems not pages
how color affects my bank account unfixed values

the act of abandonment as savior as mistake
a dead man’s fingers digging for change

what happens to the uncanny when it becomes habitual
as coral greys in cephalopods’ gardens which is bone


Jax NTP holds a Master in Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach. They teach critical thinking, literature, and composition at Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, and Cypress College. They edit fiction and poetry for The Offing Magazine, Indicia Lit, and By&By Poetry. Their words have been featured in various publications including Berkeley Poetry Review, Apogee Journal, Hobart Literary Magazine, San Diego Reader, and The Cordite Review.

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