Poems by Jay Sizemore (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 41
Top ten reasons to read this poem:
1. Someone died this year and it wasn’t you. There’s a crater in the moon of yourself that you will christen with their name. That chasm is a swirling black blend of words that never left your mouth. Those words are not in this poem.
2. Memories feel cheap now. Flimsy. Everything is pictures or it didn’t happen. Write it down, the way the scent of crayons can teleport you to the floor of your grandmother’s house, even then struggling to stay inside someone else’s lines. Those lines are not here. They are gone, gone, gone.
3. Have you laughed today, opened up like a shaken soda can? Stop dying— your hair. As if grays are the fibers wound into that invisible noose dangling over your head. What if there is no noose, but instead an invisible safety net that entangles the spirit and hauls it up from the depths of one life and into the next, thrashing like a blue gill. Imagine your sister’s screams trying to catch that fish in the bottom of the boat, everything a luminescent halo of reflection tossed back into the river.
4. Spiders never sleep. That’s why they crawl into your open mouth, seeking refuge. They can’t know some caves are a swallow away from infinity, a dark tunnel to nowhere that smells like whiskey. Even spiders make mistakes, leaving holes in the webs of their lives, egg sacks hatching into a raven’s beak.
5. There’s something you want to put in this poem, but this is not your poem, so you are left with the wanting.
6. For Christmas this year, you were given a box of dirt filled with hidden dinosaur bones, a reminder of how poets find poems, excavating words from the earth and rock linings of their skulls, using a pen like a bristled brush to reveal the calcium white verbs and nouns, linking them like vertebrae puzzle pieces, poems nothing but skeletons of a forgotten era, brought back to either admire or ignore.
7. I am not James Franco, and therefore, James Franco did not write this poem.
8. Someone else is writing a better poem than this one. They are convinced it is terrible. They are deleting the words. They are a perpetual motion machine of starting over, fumbling more brilliance through their fingers in seconds than most will find their entire lives, and yet this poem lumbers on, like a one legged drunk, determined to finish the race.
9. You’ve come this far, might as well see it through. Nothing will ever compare to blood on the bed sheets, to cradling a newborn torn from the pages of your own novel, to the tangled threads of fear and joy in mid cliff dive, to ruffling the fur on a big dog’s neck, to giving more than you could ever get back, to the unquenchable sadness of a held hand losing its warmth, to the poem you always wanted to write because it was always there, just beneath the surface, waiting to be found.
10. If you do not read it, is it truly written?
things I have seen, facebook poem #41
I’ve seen pink flamingos perching on the ribs and spine of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I’ve seen time bend like a green stick in a child’s hands. I’ve seen President Obama infect Jesus with the Ebola virus, Pandora’s cardboard box inscribed with the word Amazon. I’ve seen the ocean receding from a beach of picture frames, each filled with a macro image of the human eye. I’ve seen hair follicles giving birth to sea turtles. I’ve seen middle children pouring themselves like rainbows into empty glasses, the way vegetables can be good or evil. I’ve seen the famous wish they could get lost in their own shadows, horseshoes upturned to catch the invisible luck that drips down from the daylight moon. I’ve seen marionettes balanced like goldfinches between the reflections of sadomasochists and superheroes, a homeless man singing in the street, ignored anyway.
Jay Sizemore dropped out of college and sold his soul to corporate America. He still sings Ryan Adams songs in the shower. Sometimes, he writes things down. His work has appeared online and in print with magazines such as Rattle, Prick of the Spindle, DASH, Menacing Hedge, and Still: The Journal. He's never won an award. Currently, he lives in Nashville, TN, home of the death of modern music. His chapbook Father Figures is available on Amazon.
Image: "Mannequin" by La Peur du Vide.