Bite the Bullet
I get in this rut
of hiding in the woods with my purple basket
still looking good hobbling in a black bikini
on crutches with my selfishness.
Human life matters on this river of no return
but all cats are dying.
The summer inside me is unnaturally cold
the summer interlude
is where I could drown in my blood
despite the inner tube
but there’s always this weird urge to preserve.
Human light-time afraid of books about aliens
in love with/afraid of the night
I fall out of this pattern onto shag carpet
my legs are broken or my legs are open
clutching the rubber rat in the basement
or swinging from rings
or hiding in the dog’s house by the violets
the rock-rickety ribbon.
I was drinking martinis from a straw
my face wrapped in bandages
the night the gray tabby died.
You’d just cut my hair you’d hidden diamond water
I’d lied to myself that I was trying to do something bigger
but who could take this gallery of my childhood photos
in the wood-paneled basement
the sweat of routine
and not shoot at me?
I’m behind in my movies
but every story is a different face
a well-mannered bag of bones
a woman losing her breasts.
I remember blue ruffled bathing suits
and drinking from the hose
and how I had to plan time
swiss-dotted but hemorrhaging in handcuffs
and how if it started raining
I could always run inside
I could have a broken face or a list
but she has a way about her
some odd kind of mind control
and I guess I should have died on the longest day
if I didn’t want to be left holding the bag.
Queen Bad Seed
Well, it’s Rebel without a Cause season again
starlet blue starlet noir
pale nails and Vampira between my legs a mix
of stink-fizzy grapefruit
slight chance of shadow.
In the drained swimming pool
I surround the tiled heart with candles
think Mickey loves Jayne like Jayne loves sun-tanning oil
or like Jayne loves pink shag and you can have some
of my milk or hormones and it’s good to eat food
wild w/out labels under the moon
in the shape of a star. It’s good to feel full
and maybe it’s true I did see the ghost
but I didn’t have patience
and maybe she stood in my doorway hole-eyed
blue kaftan and silver cat necklace
and maybe my life-sized plastic solder lamp glowed
as I taught him to masturbate
in a silky nightgown and ’50s tiara
holding a conch shell pretending Lady Liberty
and there’s only one hole you cannot climb out of
and by then it won’t matter.
What could I grow up as
beating men off with my snoopy snowcone machine?
My cry-sigh at the vanity
double eyelids and flying a flag
made red with ketchup or blood
the wish to stop hunting
so unanimous I swallowed your stone?
Getting my ears shot w/ 14-karat torches
at Piercing Pagoda
and fucking the lifeguard in my green-checkered bikini
could be my acte gratuit
except I made up the lifeguard
and the dark paper lanterns
same cups same cupboard
I got sick of charades.
Can my Hollywood friends come to the party
while I leave the fireworks
for the convenience store parking lot
and wash down a handful of sunset barbiturates
with a slush puppy?
I’d Be Safe and Warm if I Was in LA
half girl, half ostrich. The address says Anytown
but I’m not good at loss.
You say it doesn’t sound so hard
and aren’t there still sex murders
behind the Hollywood Bowl?
But non-sleep is so bad
so are gold satin curtains bloody slips and black magnets
in this deluxe pink bathroom.
Maybe I started in the corner of a big dept. store
selling celluloid. Like a cameo, maybe, behind robot TVs
with dark purple eyes.
Maybe I haven’t told you about my death
a special kind of seahorse
swimming mornings alone
since it’s always evening in the disposable zone.
I gave you all I wanted my guilty surprise
the deer moving in and out of the water
the anachronism of my tartan dress
crossed with polar fur in the summer.
It’s not funny, really, thick socks or diurnal feelings
a vitamin shot in my ass
but what does it matter summer’s always over
eclipse or not 36 times.
You make blue moons blonde. You finish religion
choke me with a phone cord.
Lucky duck 13. Lucky car wreck.
I vow to lie in the sun
with my fat bag of makeup
in my gingham dress
wishing I believed
in a doctor, a god, or astrology.
I vow to kill a fox with my bare hands at a pit stop
end my depression, white vans driving by.
I vow to take poison behind the motel pool
die flat on my face and show everyone.
(Note: The title I’d Be Safe and Warm if I Was in LA is a line from the song “California Dreamin’” by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips.)
Jessie Janeshek‘s third full-length book of poems MADCAP is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press in 2019. Her first two books are The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017) and Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbooks include Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Channel U (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.