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Jay Sizemore

Flying in circles

Plastic shopping bags are the tumbleweeds
of the city, indestructible stomachs
once meant to digest air or groceries,
now blown by gusts of passing cars
like wrinkled jellyfish ghosts.

Today I watched a homeless man collect cigarette butts
from a sidewalk. His shoes were untied as he shuffled
from side to side, filing the discarded ends into an empty hard-pack
of Kools. His stomach might as well be full of bottle caps,

like a seagull's. A flock of white gulls loiter in the parking lot
and bicker over scraps found in littered fast food bags.
Their black ink eyes echo the hopelessness
of men begging other men for money,

both born with wings, but never really learning
what good could come from using them.


Death is nothing more than a pair of black gloves, worn by time to hide the fingerprints from the scenes of the crime. There was never a skull-faced figure, with a cloak and a scythe, just the steady march of toothed gears and light, the fabric of existence like a sheet draped over an orgy. Even now, the remnants of supernovas are fucking beneath your skin. You think you're coming down with the flu. The first knot you ever tied turned black and left its scar in your navel. Since then, your consciousness has rolled around like a loose ball of string, unravelling and tangling in the tripwires others leave behind, a myriad of incidental connections knotting you more securely beneath the sheet, like Gulliver with nowhere to travel. Time's hands are never idle. The longer you roll, the less string you have to give, and the faster those hands work at untying your knots, until you're forgetting words for objects, names of children, days of the week. You're lying alone in your bed, feeling like a jumble of loose ends, a dust bunny clinging to a solitary thread, one that seems to trail away forever until it circles back into a bow you tied around your finger, so you wouldn't forget where you came from, but you did anyway.

The End of And

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I must have missed the memo of the ampersand's
dramatic rise to fashion among modern poets,
such a pretty replacement for the word "and."

I gave myself a hernia trying to lift all that self-righteousness,
not an abrupt pain, more of a discomfort, a dull ache
in the guts like being told of a sudden loss, a mass shooting

where your fiance works. I've declared war on my apathetic nature,
I've assigned human attributes to my cats, marveling at their attention
to television programs, the way they seem enraptured by Pink Floyd.

And and and, and and, and and and and, and and. That is my way of saying
"fuck you" to movements of conformity, scratching the loose skin
from the psoriatic scalp of the pretentious plagiarists of ideas.

I'll cram as many conjunctions or articles in one sentence as I please,
editors be damned. And you wonder what is happening to language,
why we replace words with symbols, common phrases with acronyms,

abbreviating the meaning out of life. And this and that and this and that,
I'm laughing out loud and through and through and through, while the cat
and the cat and the cat sits oblivious to the death throes of human idiosyncrasy.

Whether the weather weathers

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Whether the weather weathers your words
or not, the whorls of worlds inside worms and wombs
will wither to whittled wasps and wands.

The weather will weather whatever it weathers,
whether there's worry or whirl, wherever
wild winds twirl the weeds like whips unfurled.

Watch as wisps of whispered wants wing
their way into whimpering whales, wandering
witchery of wander-lusted wives, woven

into wails. The weather swelters and welters,
swallows and wallows in waste or wear,
I swear the sword will waken and wage the war.

double standards

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an erect penis is not obscene
the Bradford Pears are blooming white
until stroked without audience consent
petals that fall like snow and smell like sex
I found a dead cricket in the toilet
and rotted meat to attract the flies
its musical legs still kicked in faux swim
like a corpse collecting bugs to fuck
the male dominant perspective
still and beautiful without breath
withers into flaccidity

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