Jessie Janeshek 日 12/06/2021 · admin No comments


It’s Been So Long Since the Whirlpool

But the secret keys will always be there.
Keep telling yourself
I’m bored of the woods
the skeleton bar and the coming-on hunger
eagle eagle echo        singing on the four track
the wood-paneled keyboard
with space effect sound.

I used to think the woods would make me
I turn the cards over
I don’t read them with sincerity
I fall asleep in my too-tight 21-year-old prom dress
with my reading lamp on
and the promise of drugs.

It’s hard to think of collecting anything
jigsaws or ladybugs
but what time is the sunset?
I make a lucid dream blurry with locusts
but I already long for a winter
my fur hood and the shed
my starburst earrings expressionistic.
The cat’s on the beanbag
the dad’s working late on the barge.
I look through the binoculars to Toronto, Ohio
where the blue storm is brewing
over the river like a mystery.


Figure 8-Ball

I faked my way into a fever
I’ll never be good enough
to be artistic  to be tiger-striped.
It’s not subtle wit
to wear hot pink tights
and ride in a dune buggy
remind you all of the sunset
in the red meat at Georgia O’Keeffe’s house.

I can’t tell if it’s my brain
or body breaking down
I keep faking my way into fever
while the women on the green screen
skate into the cemetery.
I don’t understand the death of a scoundrel
Lily Munster’s green face
why part of me wants snow in the pasture
and feels like I’m having a coronary
the other part wants any man’s
finger inside me
long as a cigarette.

You say I make it a blood race
when it isn’t
no lead pipe on the sweetheart’s piggy knee.
You say my star is on the rise
I just keep getting high
bulldog legs under my stolen lime costume.
I lie when I say I buy a guitar
I’ll tremble and shred at the gates of hell
but I’ll never play.


Fireplace/Break My Streak

A nightshirt of yellow eyelet
lights kaleidoscopic all along the walls
I’m fine with burning tinsel
that I might bring the house down.
Keep your ideas he says
so you don’t commit suicide
but instead I slam my slowness
my soft flash
how sometimes I lumber
how I can barely drive stick
out past the orchard to the mystery house.

Just call the river a nightmare deliverance
scared of dead nurses
scared of the old hunter
the orange Erlking glowing
his X-ray skull gunning
on the side of the road.
Every night I dream of church pews
as my head opens up
a lemon mesh tutu
how my locker won’t open
how I can’t leave the history class.

My life moves too slow
three years since Nebraska
take your drugs and go to sleep
the man who ran across the town square
bleeding through his monkey mask.
I tried to fuck him in the El Camino
I tried to fuck him in the Apple truck.
I sliced my finger.
I slipped on two coats of red lipstick
no TV to fall back on
all I had was gravy and luck.


Rotten Broom/Sea Salt on the Womb

Walk a mile in those shoes
and the gag is endless peace and simple happiness
woolly worms by the bonfire.
The wood holding us up splits apart
and since I’ve ripped all the music
I don’t have a mission.

The horsefly lands on my leg
the charity blue of the pool paint
and I take the pain     don’t shoo
stand up to watch the blood train
in my mystery sunglasses.

I walk the desert in a bra
the yellow of a feather
cactus like a honeycomb of pus.
Originally the dust     meant any stretch of wilderness
even these rotten peaches       this tick-ridden creek.

Cursive writing on my jeans’ ass
let the 20-somethings drown
in their gas station panties
no breasts only nipples
the dog barked itself to death.

Remember playing hotel in the closet elevator
hoping it’d blow up a rain?
I never give myself the chance
since I piss away every summer
watching this girl with crisscross straps and tropical flowers
read thrillers on the sunporch
and use her phone as a banana.


Making Braids/Taking Names

Lead time/lean time/keylime
summer is over    cicadas are crying unrequited.
You’re writing your will
but dry your eyes baby horsefly
because we’re helping the killer.
I don’t know what to do
except take pills and sleep all afternoon
dream the pink eye    dream the August pool party
the built-on kitchen addition
the hottub I can’t see.
Two black snakes climb the gutter
gunshots on the river
maybe Brown’s Island
white sky at night
mosquito on my neck.

Spending the night in the Heinz Ketchup sleeping bag
the zip ties      the day’s disease.
You said the stars were significant
any night could be a weekend.
so I bite you and hog the video game.
But in the dream we are safe and you’re making spaghetti.
swimming is peaceful    roots growing in
I’m still overcome by blunt bangs and subtitles
but I believe in everything again.

I buy the crime sprees
the clear bag with orange flowers
filled with plastic curlers
I buy your tall tales of Florida
but I still don’t care.
I walk back and forth in the hot humid rain
the headiness of everything
I do is a moon phase.


Jessie Janeshek’s full-length collections are MADCAP (Stalking Horse Press, 2019), 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), Channel U (Grey Book Press, 2020) and Hardscape (Reality Beach 2020). Read more at