Jay Sizemore

Jay Sizemore is a poet and author of 15 collections of poetry along with one collection of short fiction. If you’ve heard of him, he’s sorry, he must have fallen down the rabbit hole of his own paranoid delusions. He now works and lives near Portland, Oregon, and mostly tries to forget the past.

The road is life

~after Jack Kerouac 

Roads and rivers and wild ribbons
of smoke trailing speeding locomotives
carrying travelers ever which way
like blood cells waving neck ties
long as telephone wires traversing
this crazy hill scape blurred by the passage
of inescapable time. The birds cry out, 
their throats entire jazz bands 
filling impossible crescendos 
with white noise and black noise, 
the music of life, the drum beat 
of a billion stars pulsating 
through the vacuum of the night, 
saying witness me, love me, miss me
when I'm gone behind the veil 
of another surreptitious summer, 
warm sunshine and perfume, 
where all the mad blossoms bloom
into the colors of their vestigial doom, 
a fate that lingers behind all things, 
an apparition of hands, moving mouths, 
all faces swirling and blending into one, 
this is it, man, this is the dream
the epiphany of a finger snapping
quick lightning through an inky fog, 
brief illuminations of want 
outlined in the milky violence 
of a bruise the size of Texas 
left on the shoulder of God. 
It's sex. It's amphetamine. The first taste
of peaches and cream, and the wasted
bygone eras of a million broken strings, 
broken chains, broken beams, 
the rotted boards in the rotten porches
of the forgotten and empty swings, 
all the houses crumbling across 
the dusty and vacant plains, 
where we once lived, where we once believed, 
that all this was real, that it was tangible, 
the smell, the touch, the flavor 
of dust tinged rain quivering 
the dry husks of the corn leaves, 
and yes, we thought it would last forever.

Birth of the body

~after James Joyce

All homes eventually become pawn shops.
You become the ghost of your own father,
a dead treasure of hollowed bones—
click clack clackety
dream catcher of decay. 

The sea hides its faces, 
sun flung spangles, dancing coins
on the surface of the water—
Form of forms,
Body of my body,
Mind of my mind,
Shell of my shell.

Lamp light and wormwood,
of laughing corpses
and the secrets of stone. 

Man becomes God becomes man
becomes sea becomes seam
and stars and skeletal chasms
of the sky of the earth,
under swept and scuttled
a capsized ship
speaking to the lapping waves.

Corpus Christi with a tree frog
rescued from a sink drain,
opera music swelling
as it leaps from my fingers
to the damp foliage,
body glistening
a pulsing river of green. 

I am the tree frog.
I am the foliage.
I am the hand,
and the promise of teeth
beyond the pines.

There is no main character here,
no protagonist except time
and breath, the incessance
of sound that lives
with or without being heard.

The Scapegoat

~after George Orwell

Pigs don’t have to fly
when they can walk 
on two legs,
and teach the sheep to sing. 

The windmill will never be finished. 

All this work, 
without the benefit of hands,
building the rainbow bridge
between now
and Sugar Candy Mountain. 

Hear the raven
deliver his gospel,
the animalism 
of instinct 
pitted against intellect,
a kind of living revisionism. 

This time, the windmill 
will be as large as the world. 

Snowball was no messiah,
he would have held
the whip in his teeth,
if he’d been given enough time
to blood his own slaves. 

Everyone needs an enemy
in order to declare

in this war, without invention,
peace is the windmill.

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