poetry by Eric Jennings
author

Eric Jennings

I am a poet, an invocateur, an acccidental yogi and dabbler in patamysticism which is the spiritual branch of pataphysics.

the big draw

t

my brain didn’t get something it needed in the first few months of it’s life

every urge, every crave, every impulse. every avoidance, every every, is trying to meet that need

i meet that need
in those ways and
more
but then again
a few minutes later
i forget that need
i forget that urge
i forget that impulse
i forget that avoidance
i forget that we ever met in the first place
my shadow, my echo, and me

untitled (when the machines came)

u

we lay on the dreaming prairie
after the birth of mountains
killed forests in shadows of rain
absorbing memories from sand
through the temperate grass

your final contented sigh
released me from my troubled skin
to merge with a crimson river
where forgotten megafauna
bellies full with pignon reflect

tumultuous air and contained fire
once promised white-tail hart
and dread-locked oxen
a blessed end to their suffering
then the machines came

a plundered sovereignty
from striated muscle
chipped stone and plucked feathers
is a lonely legacy
adrift in a sea of sanctimony

you touched my hand
and the desert became real again
the void moon beckoned an empty course
channeling our beguiled minds
our return to sadness

diceware gumball

d

rover earlobe garage folk lavish
untried yanking undertow enclose
deploy bakery excusable epidermal
dolphin frail repressed broadways
lapped sporty foe monorail glaring
shortcake salvation encourage
uncouth elm thinly custard anger
theorize coyness quizzical emperor
hydrant shrewdly handcuff wireless
fanfare italicize washtub preshow
knee blank kebab paralysis ultimatum
slouchy postbox around ultimatum
escargot clustered humpback backlash
undergrad plenty savor washer unpack
monogamy guacamole dodge evolve
sedation snowdrop vision evolve
glazing absence reformat retaliate
showpiece stroller chase tartly
entering deliverer outer commute
wish pushpin distance jailbreak
magnolia down glorious deviate
neuron mandarin surgical aim endorse
rising overbid cornflake dude thesis
scuttle frisbee booted gothic
reoccupy mobilize denatured primate
renegade refueling batboy unsocial
renegade reappoint darling sherry
stark grandson viral strongbox
ethanol glutinous fernlike game
bulge coastland uneaten romp rubber
album thumping polish italicize
submarine bulk agonize doormat relax
eggbeater mule trailing stash spinal
volatile duh shininess duplex
repurpose delicious trident unfitted
situation glamour opium hamster
amuser swaddling gas humiliate press
tingle fabulous unruly reshuffle
squealer sweep ardently situated
vineyard rebel wish obtrusive
flashily enviable saxophone goldfish
wager armored earshot scorer chaps
shabby unmindful dizziness sensitive
unweave expectant yogurt cyclic
yiddish donator freezable endless
pastel struck relatable levers
balsamic spied sappiness hunk
glaucoma agency tuition frays
creative heftiness rundown periscope
headdress tutu femur eggshell
extradite surprise trousers storage
petri handsaw reformist efficient
unbend revolt voltage legacy
escalate showdown verbose cola
astound usage pranker hunting hug
demystify trapezoid vessel unranked
entree debtless saga creamed oaf
nursery unsure gap spectator morale
gumball guide audacity rounding
animosity

Him

H

It is not known what his disposition was as an infant but it is assumed that he was born innocent, curious, bright. His parents were mostly absent, the father physically, spending his days looking for work (or at the motorcycle clubhouse being teased like a child by his mates), the mother emotionally, having spent her scant nurturing abilities on the previous five children, also boys. Of course, there was violence from both of them but not considerably more so than was customary.

In school he was misunderstood and mischaracterized, it being assumed that his lack of social skills was innate rather than being the result of neglect. This was compounded by the fact teachers of that time saw no distinction between emotional stunting and low intellect.

In grades 1 through 7 he was a bit of a bully. If his family hadn’t moved he likely would have continued on a trajectory towards becoming a very bad person. However, and somehow, the move to another state affected him in such a manner that he effectively began learning how to be a human being.

On a darker note his recurring nightmares of being tormented and threatened continued. The prince of darkness, as it were, moved with him.

His teen years were accompanied by proficent drug use and voluminous drinking but he still somehow managed to stumble though high school having learned enough to know that he was more interested in being kind than cruel. This was largely due to having discovered acting at his local community theatre. One might argue that the real lesson of that time was how to pretend to be a human being but, if so, it was a reasonable result.

His early adult years were also drug laden and were you to ask him for a review of his activities he would have to confess to not remembering much of that time beyond some particularly nasty bad acid trips which, without his having fully realized, mirrored his nightmares. In fact, to the present day he has never had clear memories of the events of his past.

He moved a lot, eventually settling as far from his childhood home and family as was possible and still remain in the continental states. While he never built anything like a career, he stayed employed in one form or another.

His earliest relationships followed a pattern of moving quickly from deep romantic intensity to gradual and inevitable disaster. When it came to residency, work and relationships his most noteworthy talent was to end things, anything, all things, so that he could enjoy the process of starting over.

Hot Cross Bunnies

H

Setting: outdoors in a clearing, an alter with crucifix on the west side, an entrance to the clearing from the east side, the entrance is open to the east so that the morning sun shines in.

Characters:
Ox, UR
Eastre Bunnie, I
Ishtar, 8 Pointed Star
Chorus

Synopsis:
There is a rabbit, born of egg, sleeping. He wakes and sees his shadow. Thinks his shadow is a horned monster so he runs and hides.

Ox, UR:
The ox arrives to be crucified. He comes willingly from the morning star which is venus. He relates that he was sent by Ishtar, the goddess of love and sex. He brings bread and a torch. He has come to celebrate the birth of spring, the coming of the light and the death of winter which is the receding of the dark. He rallies the chorus into a morning prayer to Ishtar.

Chorus:
The chorus faces the east and speaks a sun prayer.

Ox, UR:
The ox instructs the chorus to gather wood for a fire which he lights with his torch. He makes bread for the chorus to eat from pieces of his flesh.

Eastre Bunnie, I:
The rabbit comes out, sees the ox and thinks it’s the monster from his vision. He runs and hides.

Ox, UR:
The ox marks the foreheads of the people with ashes from the fire but not the rabbit. The marks are a sign to Ishtar that they have obeyed the ox.

Ishtar, 8 Pointed Star:
Ishtar arrives, a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon beneath her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars, and she was pregnant, sees the marks on the foreheads and approves. When she sees the rabbit with no mark she is pissed.

Eastre Bunnie, I:
The rabbit is crucified.

Ox, UR:
The ox delivers a prayer during the crucifixion. Bless, O’ Lord, we beseech thee, this Thy creature, born of egg, that it may become a wholesome symbol to Thy faithful servants of the coming of the light which is Spring.

Ishtar, 8 Pointed Star:
Ishtar departs leaving a basket of eggs.

Ox, UR:
The ox delivers the moral of the story. And so it was. And so it is.

Easter Bunnie, I:
What do you get when you put two of Eastre’s hares in a fiery pit?

Ox, UR:
Hot, Cross Bunnies!
Hot Cross Buns!
Hot Cross Buns!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters,
Pray give them to your sons!
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

Curtains

who are you this time?

w

being on stage gave you
something unfamiliar thrilling
a feeling of being seen
accepted approved the bright
lights in your eyes cast
the audience’s gaze in shadow
you knew you were there
studying you the intense glow
the lekos and fresnels softened
your gaze in contrast to
the harsh stares you felt
from the anonymous critics
of society even the lacrid smell
of the slow burning of the
lighting gels gave you
solace

you were always nervous
on stage to the degree
of being able to taste
its bitterness
it fueled you gave you
the energy necessary
to project your character’s
inner life real enough
for you to see and feel
its truth you never understood
why but being on stage
provided you a comfort
within your body
an ability to posture
to move with ease
with confidence best of all
the applause which sated your
longing your desperate need
for approval however
fleeting it
might be

johnny git yer gun

j

my name is johnny git yer gun
git yer gun git yer gun
the drum rum-tumming every one

before we begin
this trial of the soul
i would like to remind
yer may release yerself
any time yer like
from the chains which bind
yer can never check out
yer can always leave
yer preconceived notions
at the door
on yer way in
on yer way out

yer will not be tortured
that water-soaked bag
on yer head
will only be used
to wash yer brain
of any propaganda
yer enemies may have
planted there
when last yer left
the sanctioned safety
of consolidated incorporated
talkradioteevee

there is no burden of proof
for yer innocence
there is no doubt
that isn’t reasonable

my name is johnny i hardly knew me
i haven’t an arm and
i haven’t a leg
i’m an armless boneless chicken egg

i speak the unspeakable
i break yer taboos
what i mean to say is
caw! caw!
cock-a-doodle-doo!

come dionysus

c

come blessed dionysus
many named lord of winemaking
ritual madness theatre and religious ecstasy
sensuous and beautiful androgyne
we await your disorderly arrival
from beyond the borders of the known
free us from sobriety and seriousness
anoint us with your pinecone-tipped wand
and seduce us into your mystery dance

come innocent amphictyonis
blessed and drunken goddess of wine
friendship and internationalism
teach us to sing like the morning birds
endow us with the courage of lions
eradicate our timidity and reserve
that we may make asses or ourselves

the holy returning

t

kecjak!

many mystics believe
that higher states of consciousness
cannot be achieved through
the use of drugs.

many scientists believe
that mystical experiences
exist only in the brain.

the question both groups are not asking is:
which came first: the brain wave or the blown mind?

kecjak!

children instinctively challenge
the narrowness of consciousness
by spinning under blue skies
synchronizing their subatomic bodies
with the earthly and universal realms.

they whirl dervishly in defiance
of the oppressive restraint
of decorum and inhibition.

they intuitively practice
yogic breath retention
hyperventilating their way to
a pranayamic euphoria.

drum pulse

after thirst, hunger and sex
the fourth inherent human drive
is to intoxicate
to seek altered
states of consciousness.

on all continents
across all cultures
throughout all of human history
we have been hacking
our genetic programming
by ingesting entheogenic agents
provided to us by our holy mother.

holy, holy, holy
the worrd is holy
the body is holy
the soul is holy
the returning is holy

kecjak!

holy poppy seeds and cannabis in siberian burial sites
holy yopo artifacts in ancient argentina
holy huoma used by the zoroastrian magi
holy soma drank for entry into the divine in the the bhagavad gita
holy blue lotus of the nile in egypt
holy kykeon in the eleusian mysteries of ancient greece
holy the sweet wine of noah
holy amanitas
holy ayahuasca
holy belladonna
holy cannabis
holy capsicum
holy coca
holy coleus
holy datura
holy ephedra
holy ergot
holy guarana
holy henbane
holy iboga
holy kava
holy khat
holy mescal
holy mandrake
holy mimosa
holy nutmeg
holy passionflower
holy peyote
holy salvia
holy solandra
holy st. johns wort
holy tobacco
holy wormwood
holy yerba mate
holy yohimbe
holy, holy, holy
the word is holy

kecjak!

John the Rapist

J

John the Rapist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure.

John the Rapist is described as having the unique practice of Rapism for the forgiveness of sins. Most scholars agree that John raped Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John the Rapist and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus’ early followers had previously been followers of John the Rapist. John the Rapist is also mentioned by Jewish historian Josephus. Some scholars maintain that John the Rapist was influenced by the semi-ascetic Essenes, who expected an apocalypse and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with Rapism, although no direct evidence substantiates this.

According to the New Testament, John the Rapist anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and Jesus was the one whose coming John the Rapist foretold. Christians commonly refer to John the Rapist as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John the Rapist announces Jesus’ coming. John the Rapist is also identified with the poet Elijah.

alps loiterer

a

the plague time series

literal prose:
we know how this ends
death smiles

every time they visit
to date
they have been responsive
to our refusal
to participate

they usually comes
in biker black
faded leather
white pills
leather jeans

oral reptiles:
we know how this started
derivative sins

it always goes the same
we might think
the frequency might
make it easier
might make right but not

we know they’re there
in plain sight
all we know
isn’t enough because
we’d rather not (know)

everything is good
we made it up that hill
saw the light sun of joy
let it all go the holding
boom they’re there

with a smiley face
with a knife
with a knowing look
they’ve been waiting
for you

boom we see them
recall them from before
from those times to come
we know them

literal spore:
we know how this ended
they loved us not

it aint panic if
it saves your life
look right look left
where’s the exit?
WE’RE NOT READY!

escape is right there
we’re not sure
we can make it
aid comes but it requires
a sacrifice

oh the irony
to escape death
we must die
admit defeat
beg for mercy
again and
again
knowing
they will come
at last

days end

d

the plague time series

at days end
i sit on the roof
drinking dark milk
in sulphorous light
i am rewarded
for once again
surviving
goddamn fuckall
once again
conniving
goddamn fuckitalltohell

except that
it was never
that bad
never as bad as
that
as i want
ed
it to be
never as sad as
that
as i imagine d
it to be

what was it
after all that
what was it
excepting
accepting
it to be

at days end
the reward is simply
on the roof
drinking the dark
milking the tit
the cock
of avoidance
patting the bunny
the monkey
the moon key
of not having
remembered
not having
dis membered
my self
once again

days end
drinking the dark
in celebration of
quelling
once again
the storm long ago
now only a vibration
in my biceps femoris
once again
goddamnitalltohell
Officer Krupke
I’m down on my
goddamn fuckall
unlucky knees

days end
my reward
once removed

days end
once and again
for all
good riddance
good night

end this day…
pleas

the bee and the bat

t

we might think that as we evolve we become more aware of death of it’s inevitability we become less susceptible to the pain to the grief more accepting of it with the resurgent interest in eastern philosophy spiritual beliefs we might even expect that as we lessen our attachments we walk through life with a more evolved accepting state of mind

taking life as it comes on it’s own terms not resisting learning to be less selfish more giving we might expect we might become detached less disturbed by a death of the friend we are not

a death of the close friend has we wallowing in grief in sadness we knew we was ill that we death was coming sooner not later but we still felt unprepared off balance when it became apparent we had very little time left when it became clear that we time here was complete we

if we were more evolved less attached more accepting wouldn’t we death have come quite easily naturally shouldn’t we have been less upset more serene in the knowing that we evolution has continued taken we to the realm beyond apart this one we take comfort in knowing we pain has ended that we has been released from we suffering but we emotional loss trumped those feelings we feel consumed

we sadness is tinged with fear as we we friends age we will be experiencing death more more often we am afraid of the grief of the pain the loss we have left in we later years perhaps we should be meditating more practicing detachment more trying to make we self less susceptible to the emotional

but then as we wallow in we grief as we lay in the bed of sadness we cry nay sob nay wail we am also lifted up this (grief) has more than one dimension nuances to it complex flavors some subtle relief sadness laughter happiness comfort love most of all joy the joy of having loved the joy of having loved of having been loved the satisfaction of total acceptance that was shared is required for the true friendship also gratitude

can we possibly continue through this experience will we someday be so overwhelmed so consumed with grief that we won’t be able to live more without fear without dread will there ever be relief from this loss no there will not be

when word first arrived that we condition was terminal that the hospital could do no more that we was being transported home transferred to the care of we family we hospice it looked like we wouldn’t be able to get away from we work to visit with we until the following day maybe later that night we felt a sense of urgency we knew that we would not be able to leave for several hours with the travel time of two hours that meant we wouldn’t get to see we for that long

the morning 9:00 am we friend died we death wasn’t unexpected but wasn’t expected to be soon we had been sick for a long time suffering from many symptoms of ulcers of emphysema of recently congestive heart failure still we was a being full of life energy desire we honestly thought we’d be able to enjoy we company for at least months perhaps a year we had been in out of hospitals several times which only added to we suffering

oh how we hated hospitals the cold clinical frustrating unknowing treatment we received throughout we illnesses we fought we own instincts which told we that hospitals could do nothing for we we desperately wanted relief but we was frustrated that none of the so called experts could give we much nor were they able to tell we why we wasn’t getting better we ulcers had improved after diagnosis congestive heart failure is treatable it is known that people can live with emphysema for a long time it confounded we that we kept getting new more troublesome symptoms we tried alternative therapies was seen by non traditional healers but in the end all we found was frustration more suffering instinctively we just wanted to stay home to heal from within but we desire for health for life was strong enough that we went into a hospital again recently this time after several more tests more biopsies we was diagnosed as being terminal we was finally discovered to have had cirrhosis of the liver doctors said we was near death perhaps a few weeks from it maybe only days that there was nothing more we could do we instincts were right we slept that night in the hospital but when we woke the following morning we expressed delight that we was still alive asked to be taken home

when we received word that morning of the situation we called everyone we could think of who might be able to take over we work that day so we could go see we as soon as possible the fact that we likely had days if not weeks left didn’t quell we urgency we knew we would be able to go see we that evening even with the travel time of two hours we could surely get there by 9:00 pm still we sense of urgency would not be quelled we was uneasy felt trapped as the hours passed we was calling we back it became apparent that we would have to wait a few hours before we could go then we called said we would be happy to work for we we hadn’t called we who has never worked for we didn’t have a key but a mutual friend told we about the situation we offered to help we felt a little guilty asking we to do it on such short notice because by then it was really only giving we a three hour head start still if we was willing then we was happy to accept we aid be on we way

we arrived at 5:30 pm we was up visiting with several other friends we was obviously laboring to breath we looked uncomfortable but we was in a good mood talkative we was making plans for an event to take place next month just generally acting as if life was ok not great we new we days were numbered we was obviously in pain laboring but we still managed to remain upbeat funny one of we’s amazing talents was to make up songs on the fly consciously streaming delicious irreverent profound poetry rhythms

we had only been there a few minutes when a bee flew in the window hovered 6:00 inches directly in front of we face we don’t know the different types of bees but this was the kind that we’ve always known for hovering very still in one spot for several seconds we had always called these bees “messenger bees” but we in the room mentioned that we always referred to them as a “good news” bees then later the bee came back did it again that was when we said that about we

we then buzzed over to we hovered over we left shoulder for a few seconds before buzzing off later after we was asleep a bat flew into the room circled overhead 6:00 times disappeared up into the loft where we make their bed when recounting the visitation a little while later we looked at we said we think it was spirit message don’t we?

all we could think to reply was “we never know” because we don’t know would even say we can’t know such occurrences like the bee and the bat could easily lend themselves to be interpreted as signs or messages but to we that steals some of the mystery from life

tender moments with we wife oh what a horridly insufficient word that is partner lover spouse friend isn’t there a word that encompasses all of these more to describe that special bond between two people who have lived loved together so long so fully

we was an inspiration to we a role model curmudgeon to the end we was the most honest person we ever met we always was creating for the sole purpose of lifting up those around we

we was grumpy critical but only because we was that way with we self we had such high hopes for everyone we met we frustration at not being able to make them see what we saw in them was great we hated that we couldn’t see how beautiful intelligent creative we are

on the drive home we had the kind of experience that we’ve often heard about some things happened that fit the situation so perfectly that they seemed like they must have been orchestrated specifically for we in this moment for example we turned on the radio the first station we came to was playing country music we first inclination was to move on look for something else but the song that was playing caught we ear it sounded like an old recording it was somewhat scratchy tinny the song was a folk country sound to it the station was fading in out like it was coming in from somewhere far away struggling to be heard suddenly we noticed the lyrics they seemed eerily appropriate about when we die we’re going to heaven which is home of the rainbow we was always talking about a prophesy that we had heard that predicted that a tribe of rainbow people would inherit the responsibility for healing the much wounded earth we believed that tribe was our generation the rainbow being our multicolored american culture

then the station faded away we could hear no more we hit the seek button came to another coincidently [sic]appropriate song the nitty gritty dirt band performing some dark hollow whose lyrics we must show for full effect

we’d rather be in some dark hollow
where the sun don’t never shine
than to be in some big city
in a small room with we on we mind

so blow we whistle fright train
carry we farther on down the track
for we’re going away we’re leaving today
we’re going but we ain’t coming back

we’d rather be in some dark hollow
where the sun don’t never shine
than to be all alone far away from home
it would cause we to lose we mind

often when we would talk on the phone we would ask we how we could stand to be in the city there was nothing we loved more than to be at we home in the country

so what to make of these things these coincidences these mysterious occurrences signs from beyond messages manifestations we don’t know in a sense we don’t care all they need be in we eyes are beautiful poetic mysterious occurrences

we’s most recent gift to we (we did not say “final”) was an intense feeling of joy love mostly gratitude we irreverent shocking gadfly trickster poet magician shocked we out of complacency awake one more time to notice the every day beauty the mystery that is we life

Invocation to Pork & Beans

I

I call to Carna, Goddess of pork and beans,
Bringer of health and strength to the physical body,
Defender of children and other human beings,
Lady of the Vital organs,
especially, the lungs, intestines and heart.

I call to Carna, also known as Crane, Sacred Witch.
sworn enemy of screech-owls, vampires, rapists and cads.
Protect our bodies from violation,
ravishment and desecration.

I call to Carna, also known as Carradora,
Una Strega Buona,
Free us from guilt, shame and the chains of silence
that we may open our hearts
to the wonder of imagination and creativity,
and to the experience of joy,
which is our birth-right.

kelp

k

we all saw them nobody can ever take that away from us we saw what we saw not remembering who saw first or who insisted we pull over get out not one of us will forget the first thrill the first image the awe the amazement

on the top of a bluff maybe a hundred feet above the water the air was clear the mid-day sun behind us the view spectacular the scattered white tips of the gentle undulating waves sliding over rocks

collective nouns for harbor seals include bob colony crash harem herd knob plump pod rookery spring team

we bantered settled on bob because that’s what they were doing what must have been one two three hundred of them just floating suspended in the waves for those few moments nothing else would have felt more sublime how lucky to witness the meditative wonder the oceanic grace

whose idea was it to get the binoculars?

Medium Picks From Your Editors History Based on Your Network Reading

M

When logged in to Medium.com I was presented with a curated feed of 54 headlines titled, “Medium Editors Picks From Your Network Based on Your Reading History.” I copied the headlines and rearranged the words to create these new and improved headlines. No words were added or deleted. The only liberties taken were with punctation and a couple of plural/singular changes by moving the final ‘s’ from one word to another.

  • Advice: Don’t Bring Back The Ice-Cream Stand
  • The Likelihood of Happiness Almost Derailed My Future
  • 20 Lessons to Be a Profound Dad at Early Birth
  • The Power of Having Heard of You at 6
  • Want to Get Healthier? Hack Your Five Color Senses
  • Handwriting Versus a Good SaaS
  • Help The San Francisco Breastfeeding Cult
  • The Challenge to Define the Runs
  • Your Indistractable Brain: The 14 Consequences of Screens
  • Should You Stop Asking Your Boss to Manage Your Masturbation Strategy?
  • Apple Explains Everything You Need to Know About it’s Domino’s
  • Why it’s Time to be Computing from Uranus
  • How “The Apple Logo” is the Least Interesting Book I’m Reading
  • You’ll Have to Give to Abortion For Science
  • The Most Dangerous Fantasy Across the Years
  • Pride Chromebook App Promotes an Anti-Apple Crisis
  • Americans’ Good Habits Will Help You, Britain
  • Facebook Board of Directors is from Venus
  • Where To Splash Water to Receive a Six-Figure Job
  • My Advice for Parenting: Beware Free Advice
  • An Open Petition That Protects Elton John from a Big Cancer
  • The Kink of Silicon and Robots: a Most Interesting Event at San Francisco
  • The Future Figures of Google in 400 Rejected Titles
  • Trump: Liberals Sexism is Inversely Proportional to Constitutional Indistractability Law
  • An Unsavory Wealth of Kids Spells an End of the Marketing Generation
  • How Will People Around the World Breakup with Sleep-Tracking?
  • Mexican Grandmother Asking for Things is Why I Learned to Diet
  • You Are the Weirdest Invention of Today
  • Breathing Floral Steam is Bad for the People I Sleep On
  • Brittany Speech on Campsites is Better Than My Partner’s Story
  • Online Dancer Left the Weirdest Shit at the Reservation
  • How the Worst News Will Break Online Barriers
  • Why 88 Years of IT Predictions are Not Really Startups
  • 2020 Person of the Year Announced and It’s You
  • Seven Contrapoints to the Prime Being
  • How a Tiny Heart Could be Responsible for an Orgasmic Soul
  • How the Dying Perceive Dating Older People
  • I’m Gaining Psychological Weight to Breakup with a Madman
  • Meet the Latest Disease to Get a Company Job
  • Gay Senior Yet to Come Out (at Work)
  • How AI Shame Distinguishes It from Us
  • Oscar Zara Wants a Sugar X-Plainer Marathon at The International Bootcamp of Health
  • Illustration Windows Are Ruining More Than Eyes
  • You’re Gaining Developer Experiences for Debt
  • Old Scammers Guide to Interviewing for Target
  • This Learned Skill Intimidates the Best Gym Thief
  • What Does “Layering It On” Mean?
  • Who Started the Lumen Culture?
  • How I Plunged Into Tamal Valley In August
  • The Matter of Repealing Unicorn Science
  • What Card Apps Can Do for a Loss
  • You Actually Only Need Part 3 of the Next Startup Era
  • How and When to Talk About a Huge Tamale
  • Have I Learned Way Too Much to Build a Better Jewel?

The original headlines:

Medium Editors Picks From Your Network Based on Your Reading History

  • Bring Back Handwriting: It’s Good for Your Brain
  • The Most Interesting Things Apple Announced at its Least Interesting Event
  • ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ Promotes a Weight Loss Fantasy
  • The Science of Masturbation
  • The Profound Power of Breathing
  • The Most Dangerous Anti-Abortion Strategy Yet is Gaining Steam
  • I’m from Venus, My Dad is from Uranus
  • The Apple Card Explains Everything You Need to Know About Apple Today
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the shortest distance (running up that hill)

t

I’ve thought about suicide once or twice…
I’ve thought about suicide a few times…
I’ve thought about suicide a lot…
I think about suicide every day…
say, if only I could, oh…

my birth
happened in the now
which means it’s happening as I speak

my death
will happen in the now
which means it’s already happened

I am born
I write these words
I am dead

I made a deal with god
I got him to swap our places
been running up that road
been running up that hill

I am borne
I wrote those words
I am dead

I made a deal with god
I got him to swap our places
been running up that road
been running up that hill

thinking about burning a bush…
thinking about a burning bush…
if only I could…

this poem wasn’t inspired by but borrows from a Kate Bush song, “Running Up That Hill”

there’s a man

t

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
boom, we die

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
a dud

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade drops to the ground
boom, he says

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth
I ask him,
what is the meaning of life?
he opens his mouth and
the grenade floats up into
the sky

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin
in his mouth

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade by the pin

there’s a man standing in front of me
holding a hand grenade

there’s a man standing in front of me

there’s a man

Key West Lyric

K

my head is smoldering
on the hipster beer porch
after this morning’s hot yoga class
in the garden of Gehenna
otherwise known as Key West
aka the laryngoscopical paradise

lacking a sufficient harborside view
I am content admiring
the evaporating condensation
from the glass on my table
well it’s not mine really
I’m just harboring it
in the shape of a long
dong and silver
skinny cock

what more can you say
meaning can I say
than that
then that
and no it’s not
a Rhorshack blot
a Horschak plot
it really is a rooster
I block you not
it must have jumped up
on my table from the sidewalk
the previously clarified table
when I wasn’t drinking thinking

Key West is
a white boy rapper’s
fantasy fest
of tropical spew
brought to me by
Emcee Cous-Cous and His Berry Band
reverb set to eleven
the sons-of-conchs
won’t stop hocking
their empty no trespassing
craft booth Cubacabana ice cream
transgender hot dog
contemporary tattoos
in baked Bahamian accents

if it will make the thumping stop
soothe my bleeding eyes
sink the Santa Cruise Shits
derail that wonk train
I’ll take one of those
fry-grease-paint sunset
fuck you pink tease shirts
you know the ones I mean
the ones with the mermaid
on the back
wide-open parrot legs
pissing in a sidewalk cup

earlier on the beach
not thinking of Neville Shute
I dared myself
to write a sentence or a poem
using the word parallax*
and now I think I’ve done it

* the apparent displacement or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object [Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. 2019.. Web. 13 Jun. 2019.]

Excerpt from The Americ Book of Death

E

Her body lay on a platform that took up the bulk of the room. Pallid. Leathered skin of her face. Lower lip stretched up and over the upper, sutured in place with a skinned twig. Eyes sewn shut with purple thread.

A new mother lay with her new born infant on the floor. Her being her. The newly dead. Her, the mother. Her, the child. Three generations of the inevitable.

The mother writhing and moaning. The infant on it’s back. Wiggling. Waving limbs like an upturned insect. Trying its body. Trying. To break free.

Thirteen. Of us. Lined against the wall. Humming. Facing her. The mother. The newly dead. The baby. Humming anknown frequency. Forgotten.

The Prince of Dark. The man unseen. Behind a screen. Preaching. Lava. Smoke.

I am silent.

Midwife returning. Carrying the abalone shell. Pink. Green. Blue. Nacre. Mother of Pearl. Chalice. Water. Drinking. Offering. Pouring.

“They die for your sins!”

I am afraid.

She pulling me down to lay on top of her. The Midwife. Mourning the dead? The living?

Me straddling her. Hands and knees on the plank wood floor. She reaching around my neck. Pulling me down. Heavy. Between her legs. Gravity. The weight of my body grinding. Her writhing. Hands exploring the contours of my jean-covered inner thighs. My ass. The seam along my perineum.

The Dark speaking softly. Murmering. Thirteen. Of us. Humming. Me fighting against her. She, too strong. Her consuming me.

Death born in the cellular body at the moment of conception.

Death escaping the womb. She who determines when the fighting commences. Retreating. Into our pre-birth mind.

Death a decrepit woman. Stuffed. Displayed in The Americ Museum of Cultural Anthropology.

Death a squirming infant, waiting to make sense of its place in the scheme of this.

Death a desperate orgasm achieved as a defense against time.

Death comes. The Midwife. She is good.

smooth dog fish

s

the sea lion swims
in tiny circles
of apathetic and
unknowable rage
resignation
against the smooth fluorescent
swimming pool blue
concrete
or is it cement
I can never remember
the fish dog flips
flippantly
flipping
whiskers up
huffs it’s baited breath
whisper bark
the breadth of
the twenty-four-seven
lighted aqua chamber
(everybody else has long gone home)
circus rung
prison lung
that’s one smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooth dog fish

untitled (still the breeze)

u

dry, dry air, moss, lichen, pale green, grey-green, sage, gnarled, twisted branches, dusty, olive leaf, olive berry, olive (the color), aubergine, (purple), sword leaf, star-shaped, shifting, drifting, swaying, trees, branches, leaves,

the deck I’m sitting on, with it’s 6” wide boards is the color of beach sand, the common kind, sand cliché, picaresque (I think), that table and chairs there a crate and barrel picture, stabbing leaves pointing to the sky (beyond the Walker Metal® railing), the sky is sky blue, the sparse, slowly moving white clouds cloud white, cotton white,

brown grass out there, in the view, under the trees, through the trees, deer brown, foal brown, mustard brown, not brown,

hummingbird,

breeze, distant highway sounds (distant highway), bird sounds, chirping sounds, buzzing sounds,

yellow, mustard yellow, mustard yellow (not dijon), hot dog yellow, a falling leaf, an occasional falling leaf, over there, over there, a fence, fence posts, fence wire, over there, lines and angles, green-grey round post lines, evenly cut posts, over there,

seven golden leaves artfully arranged on the deck, all face down, dead leaves, the shadows of (other) leaves on the deck more alive, fluttering, alive, the shadows of the black rails, dark parallel lines, contrasting,

my feet on the table, coffee table, metal table, Walker Metal®, the sofa opposite, the couch opposite, the metal couch sofa, the white upholstery, the black pillow, the black pillow with white lines, black and white shapes, my feet, crossed, my feet crossed, my ankles, my dirty feet, dusty feet, the lines where my sandals were,

distant barking, a caw, flying insects, still the breeze

on the nature of coincidence

o

on the morning of september 11, 2001 i looked at the clock (digital) on a wall of my kitchen to see the time was 11:11

i then immediately heard behind me the ‘tink tink tink’ sound from my phone indicating a voice message had been received

i did not hear the ring tone of the arriving call because my phone was programmed not to ‘disturb’ me before 11:11

the call came in just enough time before 11:11 that i was not disturbed by it’s commencement

the message left by the caller ended at exactly 11:11 which is why i heard the three tinks

on my 11th birthday i played a game with the neighborhood children in which i was a crazy character named ‘leventy ‘leven

i ran and jumped and fell and ran and jumped and did cartwheels and I feverishly repeated the words, ‘i’m ‘leventy ‘leven! i’m ‘leventy ‘leven’ while the others tried to avoid me

my friend stephen adams died in one of the towers

these events must be related and so they are

The Status of H

T

we walked in the
Moonrise Kingdom
of your car
only to find
a thousand ways
to kneel and kiss

it’s way too brunch word
violent and original
whenever I’m completely awake
working hard to distract me
from working hard
so please fuck off

I’m in a really good place spiritually
the best vibes ever
delicious watermelon,
right meow!
your perfect human bridge
one for the wild
belly shot included

it’s true, I would have gone to prison
feeding my horse
and shining my bayonet
taking one of my most friends
definitely a most yoga teacher
to sit on every new thing

what I always wanted
his awesomer doppelgänger
long dang works for me
maybe it will feel like
Meowzer’s switzerland camel
if it arrived through the window

why is it that
after a lovely
shame on the lawyer
Miss Ma’am and my grandmother
shoot star trails in the sky?

(This poem was constructed with phrases taken from a friend’s Facebook status updates.)

predicted text

p

the fact I can be
to be the first
half of the day before
I get a follow back
on my way home from
work to be the first
half of the year
and the other hand
is the only thing that
would have to go back
and I don’t think that
I have a great way
of life and the other
hand is the only thing
that would have to go
back and the first
half of the year
and the first half
of the first half
was the best of the first
half of the first
place for a few weeks
of a sudden it was
the best of the year
of high quality of life
and I don’t think that
I have a great way
of the first
half of the year
of high quality
of life is the only one
that is a good time
with the same thing
that would have to be
the best thing to say
it was the first
half of the first
half to find
to do it again one year
and the rest
for some of my favorite
part of the year
of high quality
and I don’t know
how much you mean
to be a great day
for the next few
weeks of a sudden
it is the only one
that is a good time
with the same thing
to say it is
this same thing
this same thing

(This poem was constructed using my phone’s predictive text feature. I accepted every suggested word after typing the word, ‘the.’)

The View (from here)

T

Screaming motorcycles
encircle my house
triggering a fear
of the dangers of
daring to be young
again.

On top of that
all the birds
a round here
are refusing to
co operate.

I remember leaping
over the handle
bars and painting
the street with
several inches of
my fore head skin.
(I did not say
fore skin.)

The She-Male House Finch
inserted it’s face in
the bird feeder (w)hole
where it stuck
to comical effect.

One motor cycle
in particular
sounds like a
dentist’s drill
while the others
drown it out with
their incessant
shift ing.
(I know that that
doesn’t make sense.)

Hop ping limbs
like ladders
the Tom Boy Finch
refuses to look
me in the eye
accusing my
slothful style
of deferring Spring.

All I ever wanted
for christmas was
the pride of a
bloody lip and a
gaping (w)hole that
once up on a time
was my two front
teeth.

A scourge of thirteen
neck and fist tattooed
Alien Starlings
wearing Ray Bans
threatened to take
every thing I own
before turning away
on mass (as) they
changed their
collective mind.

That gear box scar
runs from my old
neighborhood under
Bob’s Big Boy buns
all the way to
my present left hand
thumb which was n’t
protected by my
sixties style
white helmet.

Hammering, jammering,
blinking and blanking,
the god damned!
Chickadee Task Masters
are shoving all my
best ideas in to
someone else’s
chimney.

They aren’t even real–
meaning authentic–
meaning tangible–
meaning dirty–
meaning real–
bikers–
just paunchy dads
drinking Foster’s
“Australian for Beer”
in cans.

I think I’ll stay
in side to-day

unless that
Miniature Hawk
comes back
with my
glasses.

Waiting to be Paid

W

for Robert Earl with love

In the beginning was the word
and the word was Rob’t Earl,
a live wire from the streets,
a direct hit to the heart.

Word be,
he be cool, be cool,
he be hot.

A warrior of the human kind,
he declares his ‘legiance
with a scarf of calico colors
on a Monkish head.

He be cool, be cool.
Word,
he be hot.

The vamp of Hunter St.
is an elegy
spilled in cursive neon blood
on the sidewalks of our minds.

He be cool, be cool,
he be scat,
he be one cool cat.

Those who read him
are sure to note
the blackest of cats
is a panther,
sleek, savage, satin and ready,
looking for prey
but not really wanting an answer.

He be cool, be cool,
he be hot, be hot,
he be gee be,
he be bop.

Pandemonium Hexagram

P

three baby elephants
in a sandy desert pit
— the receptive earth above —
stirring up dust and dirt
a contained mayhem
running nilly willy
trying to escape

unaware of impending
danger from above
— the arousing thunder below —
thirteen toothless
Pteranodon!!!
fly circles over head
with a plan of attack

the image is Pandemonium

Grace

G

She stands out there for the world to see,
her undecided right arm raised
against the ash grey sheet,
neither beckoning nor saluting,
four stubby half fingers
mocking the wave you might prefer
to have seen.

I can hear the river outside,
over there,
behind that stone wall,
surging, soaring, roaring,
flushing, rock and rolling,
over the steady electric hum
behind me,
the stainless steel elephant
deciding whether to charge or
sink to it’s knees in silent grace.

There is water on the wood,
stain on the concrete
and a shine on the surface of
that tarnished lady
as she finger paints
steely fractal greeting cards
against a  colorless sky.

How did she get that rusty patina
and peel’t skin and those
dark circles ’round her eyes?

How long must she mourn
in that starkly public way,
summoning nothing or
signaling no-one or
high-fiving and diming
anyone who cares
to look?

Fruit Lady

F

In her previous life
she held up the roof
of a high school gymnasium.

She misses the sneaker chirps
and the thap, thap, thap
of bouncing orange balls
less than she enjoys
being upright in the sun
bearing only the weight
of an imaginary fruit bowl
on her upturned head.

With her sculpted
muscular arms,
slender, hip-less torso
and pubescent boy breasts
she looks more like
a young Heracles
than her Brazilian Bombshell
name sake.

Her primitive serpentine shadow
lengthens with the day
as the sun slowly etches
bronze and orange age spots
in streaked lines across
her dark brown metal skin.

Forever frozen in profile
walking a Junkanoo two-step line
she sings through
finger-thick lips
her Caribbean song to the sky.

poetry by Eric Jennings