It Starts With a Lump In Your Throat
i think robert frost said something like that, about poetry.
it starts with a lump until you name it strep so it stops and then
it starts again with a shadow flying by the window, seducing the window shut as it winks its way in and settles on the ceiling:
a lump in your living room’s throat.
teta used to tell me that shadows on the ceilings were ghosts
except in the daylight when pudding spoons threw reflections at them
because then, they were bright, so then
they were angels, and angels
are good: they warn you when youre going to be late
they let you know when the messiah
will secrete through your pores, like light
from the Eternal Pudding Spoon
or whatever —
there are too many holey books leaking from the ceiling,
aiming for your tongue.
Hanging On can be called an art, if you want it to be. You find it in the way paint hangs on to your skin after the second or third or fourth wash, seeping into the cracks that moisture abandoned, like tinged earth tone acrylic hooking anchors to the other side of your skin. You find it in the way cracked skin still clings to knuckles that keep making fists (keep making fists but keep them in your pockets) in the way punctured skin makes way for the scab but does not fall off — you feel breezes sideswipe it, and wonder when the ligament between dry and tender will tear like autumn leaves you only notice when the trees look raw.
You find it on the subway: in the girl not wearing a hat so you see her hair, brittle sienna, sandpapering out of her scalp. You wonder how something so dead looking can move like something not quite dead, like something hooking spark plugs like anchors to the other side of the skin on her scalp. She gets off at Kendall Square
(of course she gets off at Kendall Square)
and you smell something burning as the door slide shut again.
Hanging on can be found in the space in your chest where Elliott Smith lives. He hung on long enough to leave an echo, long enough to prepare you for the wind’s whistle, how it will blow holes through your body. You find the tune there and hum all winter, sway your knees, lean where the music shrieks like the wind does sometimes, when it wants to be listened to and not just heard. Listen like the last frantic leaf hooking its ligament between the cracks of dry knuckles.
Like that leaf does sometimes - I see it from my window, tinged with burnt umber acrylic gone crusty but tender where stem meets branch that becomes synapse that becomes a fist against my window when the whistling comes to take me, too (fists in my pockets)
I see it like sandpaper against the breeze, grazing whistles into wheezes - but the Sun shoots anchors straight through, daring it to churn green, grow sallow, give in to scarlet fever, to shrivel and ride the whistle out, but
dehydration has only altered the process, not the function. Hanging On can be called an Art when it stops being a function.
April is not always the cruelest month,
but I guess it is a cave where haikus live.
we celebrate them annually -
these word games laced with arithmetic laced with
crayon laced with fangs, bared like an oxidized zipper.
5-7-5 does not care about your feelings but sometimes
17 syllables is all you need
no no no maybe
i’ll just stare at the ceiling,
listening to jazz
instead of mourning Grendel, translating
Old English or writing poems
or writing poems about writing poems
about feelings — pop-punk poetry:
I’m Not Sad Anymore, i’m just
tired of liking his face
but there’s still something sweet in the grin: gummy gapped
like when he kisses baby toes
while baby laughs.
(i wonder why i find that the things i can’t have are the things that are the shiniest,
i want to touch them
but i always feel like you people are onto me.)
jess riz art and stuff -
Both feet in Massachusetts with roots in Lebanon and my brain in Cambridge. aka i study there, I go…
recently made the leap to a facebook page to link my stuff to. it feels a little weird to have but i’ve been told it’s the way to go if i want to do art stuff for lyfe, so this is it.
Anonymous asked: Thank you so much for writing all that #bostonstrong
well, seriously, thank you so much for reading it.
4/19/13 - 10: 47 pm //
“we grew more last year, i’m growing a lot slower this year”
Kale came in tipsy one night but not really tipsy, I just took her word for it because
for her tipsy just looks like Kale just has her volume set to “On Fire” from roses in her cheeks plucked from Allston gardens that don’t have roses because
Ha Ha Ha Good One, Allston Doesn’t Have Roses
well yeah because they’re in Kale’s cheeks,
duh? is a word I shouldn’t say but 1999 is making a comeback so who am I to question retrogression and timey-wimey circles boring through my temples every time I rub my eyes, but I
did not that night because lately when I start thinking of time I think about how this time last year I could listen to a/the/any song and want to hit Someone over the head with a baseball bat
figuratively speaking of course
because where would i happen on a baseball bat in the skintag under harvard’s arm? i wouldn’t, but I keep boxing gloves in my stomach
I don’t know how to take them out to put them on to kiss my knuckles through them
so they try to punch their way through my skin when the coils in my head start heating up for someone/thing/where new
they stop and start so fast, I can never heat a pot of anise-tea quick enough for anyone to stick around and this year my head is always in my hands and i’ve never felt anyone in there long enough to melt my fingerprints down to my elbows, so I still lean on furniture I’m told not to sit on. Lunch Poems stuck in my teeth but i swallow Ham on Rye and there are pages ripping apart in my stomach, doused with punch but at least they aren’t on fire
Maybe that’s a way I have grown: I stopped swallowing matches
with German names with J names with C names with LMNOPQR names with names with names with names of cities
they say “What Matters Most Is How Well You [Digest] The Fire”
they licked the punching bowl clean, sharpened their teeth on the bottom, left little slivers like their names collected under my bellybutton so I don’t go looking for lint
I have enough in my pockets and I have enough pockets in my hands
but it’s been a year
we grew more last year, we’re growing a lot slower this year
“wait hey, listen I agree, Jess we’re going to
write this down
you’re going to write a poem and I’m going to write a song and
we’re going to figure out why we feel so shitty, Jess
we’re going to figure out why we
feel so shitty”
she plucked Allston from her cheeks and bled it purple onto paper
twice, ripped it in half and gave me one side
“we grew more last year, i’m growing a lot slower this year”
I still carry it in my pocket but I’m not sure what to say
at least i can touch it
“Eyeballs to entrails, my sweet”
Spike said this to Drusilla in a season 2 episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
this was the distance he loved her, the bucket of guts he’d squish his fingers through to find her heart
he’d hold it in his hands with the leverage to crumple it like old poetry he wrote for anyone but her, the temper to want to and the ringed fingers to leave welts like marks behind so that when the Slayer came he would be at stake too
but his hand wavered as much as her heart did
inthat it didn’t because it can’t because she’s dead but she’s not and neither is he even though he is but he’s not because love
and stuff. he was supposed to be the bad guy
he carefully held the slab of meat like overcooked metaphor, though still as bone, and susceptible to splinters the same way palms are
but there’s more than that to risk when you expose yourself to the elements, spread over a table
find what you are made of, what comprises your chemistry.
existichemical rebirths as periodic as the splinters waiting for your hand to run over them — keep your heart up your sleeve
then tuck it back inside of you
through the eyeballs above the entrails and watch the red go brown on your hands and into your fate line like a bed of silt settling over a fault line that leaves cracks in your skin where moisture used to be, drink your own blood this way.
when someone says “eyeballs to entrails” to you, make sure you’ve been there first
I think when Drusilla left, that’s where she went.
she peels the persimmon and i want to tell her to stop because persimmons are nasty but i know this has nothing to do with anything and my real problem is that it’s march again and i still don’t know what the hell i’m doing. but persimmons are easier to talk about
except i’ve never eaten one so i know nothing about them so maybe they’re just easier to bitch about, we bitch about what we don’t know and that we don’t know anything, but we do, it waits to swell behind our eyes when our foreheads make contact with the table, it likes being wanted but it wants to be Needed
varicose in my legs, i wonder when it’ll decide to bulge, probably when it knows i know it’s there, too much skin on my skin, it keeps making more skin, i wonder when i’ll be able to slip it clean off
leave the flesh to pucker on the blade, sneak myself through crawlspaces,
a cupboard or two
under a bed, hanging to ankles, swinging from heels, i wonder
when my skin will skin clean off
i’m a fucking persimmon, waiting to be peeled
so i don’t tell her anything.
A lot of people will probably ask you what you’re going to do with an English major… ‘I don’t know, not be an asshole.’ — Professor Lorentzen (A while ago)
(Source: ldunnasty, via englishistheartofbullshit)
This poem will drop the name “Bukowski”
it will place it on the shelf and walk ahead
when no one is looking it will double back, dust it off, and fold it into itself then into a pocket.
It will shove its hands into that pocket and push it deeper when talking to other poems
it will take special care to keep it hidden when trying to fuck other poems, but it leaves it next to the condom anyway
the other poems still don’t call.
this poem will drop the name Bukowski and pick it back up and hastily shove it in with old receipts and dirty pennies and bunnied lint, its hand will keep checking if it is there when you think it is checking its phone.
this poem will use Bukowski as a coaster for its gingerale, this poem does not know how to drink the hard stuff, or any stuff,
or how to go about fucking a lot of people and it doesn’t want you to get the wrong idea, this poem is all for sex positivity and will talk about it any given day, but today it just wants to talk about itself, again
it does that a lot
but it’s getting better
trying to get better
this poem is a piece of shit, it doesn’t call its grandmother as much as it should, it dog-ears books and spits its gum into the sidewalk, it will cut you in line, laugh at donnie darko and it doesn’t think your baby is cute,
it’s got bad breath
there’s an onion living in its tongue making words sound like tears
they’re not actually crying
until they are, but no one knows the difference
the poem, who cried onion
this poem is layered
so many layers, man
like an onion
you peel and you peel and there is just more onion
this poem is bad at metaphor
this poem wants to be better
always wanting to be better
there is always a chance to be better
there is always a payphone on the corner
a quarter somewhere on the ground
a potted gardenia on the other end listening to the phone ring
this poem has a crush on frank o’hara, on tomas kalnoky
margaret atwood, ts eliot, anne sexton
this poem follows anis, watches khalil gibran rest where the sun dips into the valley,
it wants to sit between ted and sylvia at dinner, rub elbows over the lobster
it wants to Consider The Lobster, it wants to take a Flying Fuck at the Moon, at a Rolling Donut, at the dust, it wants to Shake The Dust, it wants to want less but it can’t and it
wants to disappear Somewhere In The Between every time it crosses the Road after getting caught in the rye,
but it wants to mean something first
wants to reach somewhere first and hold on
it wants to be better
always wanting to be better.
This poem will let you down, won’t remember your birthday
and will always ask you what your mother’s name is
it will always hook itself to the other side of your nerves and try to rip
the skin off
it will only make you itchy
for something better, an itch worth scratching
this poem has dropped the name Bukowski,
has realized too late, has forgotten where to retrace the steps
until it will by accident and it will find Bukowski
pick him up, dust him off, make note of the tears and scuffs, and wonder if this is from the trenches of the pocket or from being kicked around so much,
or if he’s really just always been that way
this poem will place him back upon the shelf, spine outward, held together by scotch and tape
this poem will not care who is looking
this poem has too many holes in its pockets to hide anything.
running out of pizza and
running out of excuses are
the same thing.
(Not really, but now I
have a poem)
(and still no pizza)