Five Poems by Jessica Laser
COMPANY EDITIONS is an independent publisher of poetry and visual art. The journal, Company, was founded in 2013 and is published three or four times per year. We will also be publishing chapbooks beginning in late 2016. Company Editions is based in Athens, GA, Iowa City, IA, and Cambridge, MA. You can contact the editors by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh
For it was the end we were looking for and not of the French.
We wanted to make the end most pleasing
To onlookers bulging (green from their minds).
Accused by a bishop laden with offenses
Of immutability, I spread the thing out you don’t have
In your hands yet. So what, my beloved love. Who you give
In orders offense to. . .What dies before me I let rest.
With a dish on my breast, nickel-plated
And others I left blank for seconds
I accept the sum magnitude of this—
Two men, exiles each, come home from
The same country (abroad) only to find
That they keeping
Up the looks of emissaries
Pause to be at home
As spies in their own land.
The image required
Foraging here, not hanging there,
An heir (or two), a mountain view, and maintaining
The tenses as foreign gold you created of theirs.
And now this honeyed individual
Hides in the sun as you dry your true identity
Long with that patience just as wet when you ask
Your reflection to convey your mind
(Not my story) to the water
“I saw you chase them down”
“You saw me” “They ran” “We...”
Speaking in fast French (past tense)
To your countryman, a broken tongue rather
Than our language, as after a white man, even in private,
Assimilation you sought, because your future survived
The kind all undergo
After great grief
Back into the culture
That dreams its death in studded denim
Stretched tight over the thigh of a girl
It will never touch, who dreams culture
Could touch her.
For the beautiful I opted out one evening
To see a street enraged in quiet
And what bore me never I thought to bear
But like an animal caged and rampant
I lifted life from its particular screen
And found the etchings marked decay
No sense of night my dwelling integrated
For it was upon these years I lay
And with great charm they bedded me as earth may bed in canyons
And if the word is not so big, enough to catch the sound
Nor open to its net the waving grain
Where I stand less faint—like a prison’s grass—than grass
Resown I am begotten wicked
To will what has been seen once over
To hay in pleasant nearness to the corn
Or to imagine, once atop these boards, the sea
My weight the blunder of my passion
Until the planet being formal ropes in the world
THE BULLETPROOF VEST
The bulletproof vest should exist
In the bleary eyes of those who slept
As in your own house a voyeur
Shows you how to take it off
Convincing the whisper of steams to rise
From medieval mesh melted down to the armor
I think of as beauty, its arm around my mind.
I would take an immaculate climb
Over the ridges to see you
But the ridges are long
And we drove to their song
When down that coast-resembling road
We migrated south with the circus party
And laughed without nets.
tried to chase the phantom.
LATE NOVEMBER EARLY MARCH
need not fear what peace you keep
Blow ghosts you unravel by their use.
This muddy spring clots with bits
stoneware ground beneath the fog
A nearer sun
Through clouds than we thought.
talk with a bit when you hold in your mouth
scan the naked bloated shore
doubt the latter placed by its effect
And makes of its carrier a neck to ring
The parcel bag around and sue.
carried food a long way from there
thought the earth a mirror
Jessica Laser's poems can be found in Boston Review, The Iowa Review, Lana Turner, Petri Press, Prelude, and elsewhere. She is the author of two chapbooks: Assumed Knowledge and the Knowledge Assumed from Experience (Catenary Press, 2015) and He That Feareth Every Grass Must Not Piss in a Meadow (paradigm press, 2016). She teaches at The New School.