Jessie Janeshek

Four Poems




We Want to Rise

when we learn the needle stays on
ashamed by short time uncluttered commitment

the false unicorn with its blue mouth stitched shut

the close wetness spread on the bed taking lace panty pictures.

Call it crime charity
paper owls hanging black eye ghosts sticky

but there are these ladies
rollerskate skinny green hooves moonshining

darkening lipstick.
We want to rise but it all sounds the same

tall and thinned out cartrips, escapades xylophones, powdery

Catholic giggles a frivolous gift

a femme fatale’s brainwashing breath artificial a lesbian detective

stuck in a conservative thriller. She sets up the scene

bone-colored pumps blood a just-read newspaper

thinks, this is the city
this is the sentence as a burglar peers in

I like him well enough. since he didn’t kill me like the other one did.

Escape Hatch: Coral Snake

We tried to run in the woods.
We tried to bury ourselves

our cult lemon-flavored under something responsible.
We ruined our diet our temperatures dropping

our soft white insides. And it sounds okay
to dry out our green hair and eat the cicadas

and I’d eat situation to bridges and back
daisy-shaped sunshades a cool place to burn.

It’s been disaster the desire for salt
the heat at our back a grass window rendered

retreating with money the moves of the mother apocalyptic.

Tricks detonate a double keyboard too tired for makeup

wounds painted on and how long will it be
until prison takes hold?

It’s soothing to melt into obsession.

This girl’s night is rotten then it blows up.

Dollhead GunGirl Noir

Fleas cry to me cling flat-faced cat
buck bloated and covered in flies.

Bad sunburn I worry temporary insanity
too many joints basement cellophane.

Sex petrified the southern belle
little one walking across rotten clocks off the bayou

crotch getting hairy handmade handkerchiefs
no pants to remind her
there’s such a thing as a man.
Try blotting chapstick the morning dream
when our fucking was interrupted.

Say something about this
old drive-in or grindhouse
Snow White draped in beads
naked, pubes bleached drinking wine from a honeycomb
oh, her glittery asshole.

Lots of people die in hotels or houseboats
the sacred combination blondest hair reddest horseshit.

Everyone has an affliction wasp guts
fake traintracks
the quaint hanging basket over a grave.

We finger the surreal into each other
under the table with liquor and armpits
gone back into stubbly time.

The Moon Looms above the Mob Boss’ Ghost

making me angry for not taking advantage
of pathos

how it hurts to pick up windmills this stray torture
blue and white, snowy-eyed and stiff-shod in feminine weather

as the arctic fox laughs and hangs in its playpen
how it hurts not to ask
about dark hair-part theory

the glass cloud of a newborn lifting itself
up from a most beautiful suicide
its shadow in the hallway wide-eyed and choking on chains.

Dear born-again background
dear shit-smeared black lack:

sometimes the threats are red, delicate
as dollhouse steps
the clotted doe hanging

and men get big enough
to think they swallow obsess for the masses

so boring I rub his sweaty bones
simmer inside the cabin the same string so fragile

whisper pretty pretty moonshots

whisper pretty pretty death
is pretty pretty moonshots.

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JESSIE JANESHEK’s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia, (dancing girl press, 2016), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. You can read more of her poetry at