A Series Of Janes


Once Upon A Time

Just middle class Jane,
a little on the upperside
of an old story, hanging
by her french tips from
the high end of daddy's
pedestal, she slips and

chips a perfect tooth on
the silent slide down an
ivory prick, pedicured toes
pointed towards pale
redemption. Finding her
feet on shattered streets,

far below the way above,
daddy's princess splits the
past, present now in another
place. She chews her nails,
paints them silver to cover
the scars. Wears a jagged

smile slapped on by secret
hands that itches her dreams
while she sleeps, sips slow gin
from coke cans and strips at
a juke joint on sixty-third to
pay the rent, pay the piper.

And after, she walks home,
counting stars in the way above,
flirting with the man in the moon.


Part-Time Feeds The Kitty

She racks nine-ball
mornings at Bobby's Blue Tip;
just another strip bar,
just another street-
current pit in a series of stops
and she's got a loft,
top of the stairs,
over the stage-
where she shakes tit nights
on the ten to four;
shimmies for the jimmies
in business suits-
they buy rounds in applause,
light cigarettes and check
their reflections on the backs of zippos
always the same faces,
always the same song-
and in the morning
she'll rack balls,
while the old men match each other
drink for shot;
they move lips that never speak,
their silence reminds her of home.


Full-Time Pays The Rent

The graveyard shift rocks
at Master Jack's Porno Emporium,
a blocked concrete coffin that
bleeds florescent sun through
cracks in the green glass front.
Tongues of it lick the sidewalk,
cold trails that shine them in
after dark settles.

Vacuous vampires on a senseless
search for something to suckle,
they flutter the aisles; aimless bats
with track marks and dirty nails
that chitter against the shelves.
Freaks and loners, fags and heads,
even the worn whores with their
nobody's businessmen- they all
see the light and remember warmth.

A blue-black babe with a tit tag
that reads JANE in red letters works
the cash box. She has a vicious pink
scar that puckers her face
from eyebrow to chin. It dances
when she talks, a lurid hoochie-coochie
in sync with her words. But she plays
those suckers like a sideshow susie,

selling hard anal to dykes, straight
to the packers and anything to the Priest
who left his collar in the vestry.
They stare at the floor while she rings
them out, scared to look up and see
the stunner she must have been before
somebody pulled the sharp end of mean
past her smile.

When she hands me my change,
the scar starts to dance,
a slow strip across a scarred counter.
It always follows me home,
waltzing with my silhouette through the streets.


Down-Time Cleans The Shell

Past a shadowed eye stands
Jane, one-legged. Foot propped
on porcelain ledge, muscles tight
along knuckled curve. She proffers
a spread like a tangled wound,
defiled flesh fills a bone cup.
Hands flutter in ritual circles
beneath the arc, they pull and twist

and now the scourge begins-
cold fingers bury themselves,
beaks of carrion birds at a living thing,
gaining strength on what's left behind.
Lather builds thick; gathers
where skin becomes savage,
secret eater of the dead.

Memory hangs heavy,
falls to spatter on broken tile,
spat wads of rage and reverence.
Jane shifts ruined eyes over a dark shoulder,
black stare of a baleful goddess.
The scar that splits her face burns,
spills fire across an ancient altar-
ignites the feast of continuance.


Saaleha said...

the poetry is lyrical. Stunning. But the pictures, immensely disturbing.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Gosh there's so much in this it feels like I've read a novel it's so intense

Michael said...

I love this work. My favorite is the detail of the clerk's scar doing a strip tease. This is a haunting poem. Great work.

Micah Robbins said...

yeah, good. not often i see solid narrative poetry that i can feel deep down.

dsnake1 said...

not what you find in most poetry blogs.

this is beautiful, in a brutal, honest way. thanks for sharing.

Dennis said...

Not surprisingly, I continue to come here expecting to be amazed and then leave again throbbing with the heavy pulse of your writing. I get the same rush from your words that I sought daily, before rehab . . . and there’s something about your pain that’s addictive. I don’t know what’s coursing through your veins, but your words are laden with it in lethal proportions and I’m gloriously poisoned every time I read something new. Thank you.

With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

As always, my gratitude to all who read here...