Tablerock Noir

Pregnancy fire/pregnancy spire                                           you say a soft restart
barrels and religion                                 down bridal falls               no notification
disease named after me                                                           no right way to capture
how sexless it felt                                   my wet, swollen crotch.

I’m limboing under                                        the dying prom dresses
a nosy white car                     a Marilyn Monroe neck
a good sweat and peroxide                      when everyone talks of
her jawbone, her insides
air-smell like cicadas and dying
trying not to hate            the dark roots of late summer
but I have too much ego.

Once when I killed                                         my pretend sister
the air smelled like the moon                               one-of-a-kind.
The air swelled like Howard the Duck and binoculars
a cocoon           a phonecall from Spokane.
We did not have           facebook to falsify.                                           My grandmother shimmied
brushed her long wig                             octopus bush and no kids.
I’m not sure I knew                                  I’d grow my own bush
they’d tear up the yard                          walk three across
the black asphalt.
I couldn’t cry                            with the sun in my eyes
a 30-second close up                            of my young hips and plastic
Niagara Falls wallet.                                Tell the kids in the pool
you’re from Pittsburgh
and we fell to a place                           without souls or clothes
an empty sink, ferns, pink barbiturates.

Supernoir, Chord Town

It’s comfortable to keep                                          surrounding these memories like meat
(how many grisly girl shots must                   we take of ourselves
how many mirrors?)             Too nervous to eat
now that we’ve been intimate                              dipping our feet
in the black river                                  even our crowns
made of crow or metal
we give our nude lipsticks away.

My love lived when crime paid
climbed the red water tank                 licked the payphone
a cigarette skip-meal                                  we called it play
a right to survival                        all your favorite songs
or a blue puff of hair
broken-legged on the trampoline.

We finish the rum                                          above the garage
in our blue and white gingham so desperate for blonding
(don’t let this mislead you)                        our ankles too fat for their bracelets.
His Swiss-dotted babies were platinum
a man proud of his dumb swatch of property.

The theatrical version chopped all our sex
from the dark railway car.
Sweet hunger. Sexy cenotaph, I’m almost always smiling.
I fall into the tomb of the evening
brown lipstick             winged eyeliner
singing all my old songs
a freak accident in the heat.


Jessie Janeshek’s second full-length book of poems, The Shaky Phase, is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming, 2017). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008). Read more at