The mini ice-age
the disco ball bracelet my feet on the blue wheel
I choose to obliterate in the room with the old globe dolls
and outdated computer
the green play hairdryer the storm coming on.
I choose one of your mother’s stale cigarettes
connect the buzz funnybone to my pretend sister.
We wait for the storm or we wait to play
after the storm inside each other’s bodies.
I tell you the story of the indoor/outdoor
Niagara Falls swimming pool. Paddle under the bridge
you’re out in the cold but the water’s blood warm.
No pool today. Post-mortems are poisonous
but they look like achievements when you’re not paying attention
such burgeoning hips the drugstore’s orange price tag so bright.
Come in to my hair salon behind the encyclopedia shelf
we’ll argue which of my grandmother’s discarded wigs you’ll try on.
Dig in, let the sludge song evaporate.
We’ll play with the gas mask, imagine I’m dying. It’s festive, cicadas
plop in the river. Something exists that didn’t and hadn’t
a tropical corset, your hands through my hair.
The sun’s coming in around the storm clouds.
Your cousin makes pizza, barely speaks English.
I say call me Harlow Monroe in rock gardens
low moments like this are part of the mastery. I say post-mortem me.
Note: “Post-mortems are poisonous” is a line from the 1932 film The Crash.
Commitment Semi-Permanent (Stylized Supernoir)
I wake up skinny hair smelling of lemon
mouth open, bruised yellow and white lady toner
leaving no room for moonglow ponies
black noise, inspiration the dead older sister’s
cloudy prom photo
and it’s back on Lake Melodrama (take the body away)
back into a platinum criminal investigation
of the red-sunglassed girls
stealing my freezepops thinking they’re stars.
Granted the soap operas ivory, ice bright
pawpaws and pot we took for granted
your pink scarf my stoved ankle
how to play Hollywood under the deck in the rock garden
at the end of the driveway and the glittery lunchbox
my brother beating me up.
Our childhood psychocode
more nuanced than film noir short races on roller skates
with wooden legs my fear of religion yours of purse spiders
we incubated, combusted as the helicopter looked for the body.
Years later a bearskin rug no bikini no bra top
but a sharp fireplace and my hair is expensive like a bright light confessing—
Lake Melodrama/Good Riddance
So averse to moving green sludge on the water
the photographs in polka dots and I don’t want to get run over
by someone else’s story in the doll museum the baby stars who saunter
my hair at least still golden
down to the shore to practice.
I call it bridal posture
a cenotaph, lit candles impatient in the black room
the secret life of sluts. I call it assemblage
daisy-shaped sunglasses the red jewel of negation.
Sex is a broken record no good place to hang
as you fuck away my faith my peek-a-boo bangs
my luminal space. I use feminine wiles
beat you off with the French phone. It’s self-sabotage
or self-preservation daily meditative practice
my grunge-girl shorts high-waisted
my green lunchbox your black dog all the apologies.
We climb in the paddleboat
forgetting what it feels like
once it starts to snow.
I focus on this failure the turtles in the water
the greasy hands of summer the white van rolling by.
We fuck in the car drinking penicillin
and I still believe in death
pink moonlight on your carcass
the sunset in my breasts.
Trouble is I can’t sleep
without the bear lamp on.
Corpse Flower and/or the Strange Lives of Starlets
It’s the best way to lose days fleas a slight headache
baby stars dreaming baroque and I have to start somewhere
dried blood up your nose and in your long black hair
the hive’s primary purpose a green-sequined bow
even when darkness prevents your excursions.
Sleepy bees become sloppy waste time and energy
battle against our will and within.
You look like a pin-up eating an apple
and I need to revisit this overcast day.
You bury a body in your bathing suit
you bury my lunchbox my black and green cry
you bury my brother beating me up.
In penance he gave me a puppy.
She lived here one day until breaking the door in. The cicadas are dead now.
I’ll be old when they come back self-incrimination.
I hate your sparseness your heart-shaped sunglasses
your superstition your voice but I have to start somewhere
stabilize fragile moments neuron by neuron not wish between trees
for these stupid hours.
My dolls will be gone before money comes in.
Summer walks with fear Harlow kidney disease
poolside thieves horseflies thinking.
The baby stars pose like three Grecian sisters
dream basically: a color a number an odor of blossom
and that little voice tells me
you’re too weak to enter the stories of others
the blessings of manslaughter
but can we consider this one a film noir
if we dig up the body?
Note: A few concepts and phrases in this poem were taken from the BBC Earth article “Bees learn while they sleep and that might mean they dream” by Alex Riley and located here: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160621-do-bees-dream
Bikini String Noir
or what the warranty will not cover.
Rain evaporates back into the weather
your spirit goes viral
the black wooden giraffe’s
knobby legs rock the shallow end.
The pink-faced girl bites my hand as I change her diaper
asks, what does your ribcage say about you?
I receive fear a blurred mugshot
cupfuls of liquor tonsils too big
tartan tanktop and panties a mantrap brown lipstick
I reorient. Celluloid hovers
and what are you doing with dolls in this weather?
Crab boil or blood boil making them handkerchief dresses in swamps
the cat’s eye ring strange
fake hats and fake crotches spurring us on
white-haired silent pictures.
I’ve got the picnic
you bring the vicissitude
a deep-fried crippled creature
a cigarette totem
ripped jeans and bleach.
Dry off, break off, what’s an elegant woman
in a blue plastic box jumping beans or a leech?
Remove us promptly climbing time.
The gun is an autobiography.
It lets goth and filth soften blows.
Jessie Janeshek‘s second full-length book of poems, The Shaky Phase, is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming, 2017). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. 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). Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.