Rachel Jensen

Six Poems

February Makes Me

A caged gibbon pranking
Only me, here I am smudged
In the tin mirror twined
To the shiny bars
At the diner, the offerings
are complex so I choose
what most manipulates
my mood, six slices
of American on white
plus pitcher of light
beer; glazed I supplicate
to the glamourous gaze
of my hand gadgetry
I know my spine
Suffers at this glowing
Throne yet, I lose time
While watching it
Ticker away in my palm
Simian-tranced
Weeping at a vine
Of gorilla and man
Reuniting after years
Lost in their own wilds
Oh to be known like that
By low moan only—
One reason I find animals
Wonderful, is they don’t
Know that they must
Change their life, yet
For whatever reason
Refuse to do so.

Where There is Sadness There is a Dad

Inside, saying
no way, buck up, kink it
so I move on

coddle conciliatory vices
say bye to my body for a night
or seven—for how can I be sad
when here I move above me
like a boozey balloon

and my friends
show me their secret sweat
like gazing pools gleaming
their now, drier insides
and I love their insides

I coo at them, and coo and coo and coo

This week
I find so much relief
in the reprieve of love
that I plot to leave the world
of cohabitation and compromise
forever, rocking in my own bone boat
to the shore of a black lake
quivering like numinous
gothic lips, cooing

oh hi black lake

let me say it again

hi, black lake

step back

on the path home
three black cats
greet me like giddy thieves
a possum pauses at my feet
you say something in my palm
about midnight snow white
but it’s one hour past~

I pull a plum
from the tree, impulsively
it chewed my throat
like tack—I
choked, gave it to my tote
and just kept texting

the leaves framed
the fruit like Victorian hands
now the plum sits
on my bedroom floor

I educate myself
by watching it decay
and move on

to money
it has been falling

from my life
into my life

I exchange all my time
for weathered wads
bloating leather bags

I spend rather
indiscriminately
on items that please
me briefly

Never have I been more dad
while mom
than I am
with this money

I found
two thousand bills
in my bedroom
not hidden, just left
by another me
who drops everything
but now I harvest
for rent is due~

How much does it cost
I only know
when it’s gone

and the plum was pink, like me
why don’t you call, why don’t you call me
blue judy.

BLUE JUDY

Urbandictionary causes me to pause
and offer humans
with their cute minds
a moment of silence

for blue judy is defined
as the act of masturbating
with the lube of your own tears
while watching Judge Judy

I try, I leak
phosphorescent drops
like a low rent light show
and rub the wastewater
concentrically in the bags
of my eyes—for Judy

I have the desire
of a submarine, trundling
through space

Dear wet face
you must be
how whale skin feels
but how do whales self-soothe
without touching themselves

What do you think
do I care what you think—

I keep rubbing
to the stimulant
of this impasse

inside

a gavel pounds

a tender gland;

blue judy laughs.

Sad Magic

I am in a sports bar hoping
to osmose emotion
from blithe bar-goers
in tandem with copious pints
I am loping toward a plane
where alcohol becomes oracular—

this peaked at six beers

now I am sandwiching
my face with my palms
which smell like mid-afternoon
masturbation, that time of day
I obey arousal as means of avoiding
my chore list of  obligation
and loss, and think about you

mom, the new god who might see
anything I do from the privacy
of your undefined afterlife

and how my growing reliance
on orgasms and booze
to regulate gloom
might give you pause

which gives me pause

and my body becomes a sigh
which becomes a poem unfolding
one hand from the other
holding nothing, but

she's gone she’s gone
she can’t see you she can’t see you
and she’s gone

which I fold into the slack
bed of my lap
like a dusk

and see your buoyant brunette
head skipping away in the dim
so I leave

a beer in the wood booth
as an offering to whatever god
might want the sacrifice.

Real gone

mom I miss you

like a dress

torn away

in a storm

I clawing wildly

to cover myself.

List of Demands

I only want
to be so mortal

I render all mortals
sick with jealousy

so mortal I decay
in time lapse over dinner

like all the blue plums
plunged from trees

to rot upon the cat
walk of my city

nobody can deny
my corporeal glory

as they amble hand
in hand to the coffee shop

amongst my lovely smears

though I am not ashamed
of my goal driven ghost

who doubles
beneath me, stamped

in faint opacity
she is here, she wants

a different kind of life
one of pickled majesty

she wants her brain
to be preserved

in the archival brine
of future-history

she wants to be waxed
covered in costume

jewels and rested
in a kitsch museum

she wants nothing
too fancy, just a continuing—

oh and hey, did you know
this is where babies come from—

desperate ghosts
pleading for perpetuity

but compromising on a clone
which is all you can give

the ghost who won’t
accept the inevitable

sudden halt.

OK

I walk with my youngest brother in the snow
and calculate our law of odds: of us five kids
if age has any order, he'll be the last alive
how lonely for him, I think, then
I’m sorry, I sigh. Why, he asks.
For nothing my fault, but still, I'm sorry
sorry for all humans who can't consent
to birth, this gross trespass from which all life
unfurls, and those who don’t consent to death
or watching their family die, either.
He is quiet, then laughs like, huh.
We walk some more
until we find ourselves before
a palatial squat, abandoned, unlocked
that we'd trespassed in the summer—
tiptoeing through human dung and baby toys
studying meth hieroglyphs and statistics
scrawled on the walls: "I am Joseph and I lived
here from 1/15-4/01" / "I am Mary and I am 110%
in love with Joseph", etc.; and a purple bra
I found in a heap and held against me
imagining its lady, Mary, taking it off—
when my brother takes three steps and yanks
a tall boy from its yard
like brown rabbit from white hat
(sorry for the cliché, but I’m just telling you what happened)
Huh, I say. He left it there in last month’s storm
for later, he says. It’s plastered in paper bag
and caked with a landscape of mud and frozen grass
like the gut of a grungy goat, which I grab
and the beer is good, better, maybe
so we pound it, like dumb, cold gods
in love with a cruel earth
and I know beer is tiny death
but I hold it, and my brother
in me like a life
in which I can give consent.