Jesse Glass


To Johns Hopkins University

I pick up my pen
think of my mother sitting cross-legged
smoking a Camel
in her belly a truck-driver's soul
tucks flesh around itself

midnight highway/oiled mirror
fish slap tails on its black surface

pick up my pen
think of Jesus (the fisherman) Blake
exploring the seven wonders of
a shoe factory
his face an oiled mirror/ a


think of a cloudy anvil
lightning like a scar's reflection
unzips all over
the back seat
suddenly you have eight sides, friend!

think of a man
who wears a cloud
his face an oiled mirror
a piston in a shoe factory
while his mother sits cross-legged
smoking a Camel
a truck driver growing big
between her legs

thinking of asphalt
think of asphalt

pick up my pen
put it down
pick up my pen
put it down
I'm making a shoe, mother!
I'm driving a truck, friend!

I was a carpenter, Magus
son of dirt-farmers, anvil.
these words shipped from shoe factory
to this University
in a carton marked GRAVE DIGGER! HOD CARRIER!

I pick up my pen.
I put down my pen.



hey i recall the last time we made the scene
pulls on her panties, fish nets, adjusts the
(she doesn't need the) bra, buttons blouse over
elegance, rolls sleeves over tracks,
chopsticks in her coiled up hair.
we hustle through march wind. down dismal
streets & I'm careful to hold her up over clustered
ice: doc martens grant more traction than spike
heels. climb the hill cars idling down through
snow blow blue cold. then there's the Torch
& down cellar steps. bubba the bouncer (why
they all named bubba?) sez hello. we're in
free. smiles thaw into scowls because this
is mohawk city and again music and again
meat throb delicious underbump of projectile
sound striking gristle. smoke man. shaved heads
bobbing. fingers punching leather chests/museums
of medals, badges, dangling skulls. suck into
beers. eyes bulge in animated talk or fold away into
heavily-mascaraed sockets like bats into stovepipes.
someone absent-mindedly picks at a scab on a lip,
yet another lifts and lets fall a jangle of
tin-colored fingernails in explanation of some
moot point of neo-fascism. then

THE BOGOMILS mash raw sound into
cement. they got this
old boiler called THE GOD MACHINE
miked up & reverb makes it shake
like a rocket thing in a 50s drive-in movie.
They let it hum and blast our eardrums fuzzy, soon
ZO, the lead screamer, crawls inside and
throws steel dynamic moan:
chico lamort and lisa whirling to the speed guitars,
feeling their leather for a zillion invisible lice, dropping
jackboots among the thousand crushables. high on everything
chico whines spasms claws his face till it
bleeds. like a monk in gasoline flames he's
spazzing in apocalypsis, never saw him look
so good before. & lisa lobbing her prehensile head
to the 4 directions, is pretty as a handgrenade, active as a
bouncing betty. now legion's smiling
o she's taken my hand. & we are up, shoulder to shoulder
thrashing to the wall of sound the fat man with the guitar
& nimble fingers is shoveling our way. our ears are coated
with burning enamel by ZO's suck & squaw
blinded (by his own choice, i hear) by blow torch
to give his moans more soul, & rolling his lidless
eyes as he wails his never-to-be-unnerstood-but-
deep-dude-deeper-than-hell-lyrics through the cheap
p.a. we scream we shout. our throats swell into
leather purses in which our tongues skitter like rats.
chico lamort kicks the wall leaving boot printed
eyesockets of the mohawked skull wall mural
signed 'deadman 8/89.' chico spins like he's outta
his fucking tree but his chick's thrashing to it, & nobody
looks concerned. the Bogomils are smoking into IT.
IT's like blue concentric circles breaking through eyelids
like rank buds of springtime in a cemetery where nobody goes.
our ears are moving along the same high-frequency grid,
now ZO is sweat-wet & naked & yodeling
elvis in hell, & he's not moving a muscle while everybody's
gotta thrash & skank. and legion's face, like it's
dead, but beautiful. and she's got the look of somebody
i once saw knocked down with a shovel by a tripping
freak. stunned-like. but that's beautiful too. it's like
she's got a cum look. like she's getting it and loves it,
and has heaved and moaned at least one time. and look,
this is beyond all suck-ass time. this is the blessed damozel,
the pre-raphaelite wet dream. see now i know
                                          & now i unnerstand.
                                                & i moan it, man
& i wail & hail this girl-star risen high above a fucking factory town
in the miserable midwest. beaming down her black light
so we're all glowing like jimi hendrix on an old poster in somebody's
attic. i can feel it now: she's making us GLOW. don't know if i should
  SHOUT*SHOUT*SHOUT* or sit real quiet like THE THINKER
& sing it low
 then high with falsetto throb & reverb like walking an empty street
on an autumn night right before it rains, and buddy holly my passion
a-down ta yau
 down ta yau
            a-down ta yau
but I'm living it now and ready to kick like a mantis with a half-eaten head in a sex embrace, or big bopper with my hands over my head singing chantilly lace
all the way down.

leather & steel mesh in our flesh
& though we feel pain we're crash test dummies
telling america not to fuck up. it doesn't matter if we're bleeding
because steady sound makes us invincible.
i burst through birth & death dates like roadblocks
in thunder road. i see john wayne movies in my head
i ain't ever remembered seeing before. hey
nobody can stop the robot groove we're in
thundering steam engines pumping pit heads clear of water,
Bogomils bruising air non-stop howl. mop-head drummer
clacking galvanized sticks & man they've gotta chain
twisted through the GOD MACHINE
&'re sawing links through splintery chinks make sounds
of general dynamics blown to hell by iranian fanatics
while dudes thrash leathery brains free of bone. destroy the GOD MACHINE,
TOSS TINNY FLESH TO BOARDS. we mash it against the wall
roll & howl in communion with every berserker
who ever jack-stepped across the planet.
and i want the Bogomils to keep up their thrash
wants those drunks at the bar to sit elbows in air
until the sun explodes into a supernova and we all become
glowing bits of t & a

but it ends
but it (keep it cool man) ends
but it ends.

& she sez it's the spiderz in the bed
& her grandmother talks to her through a hole in the wall
& to take it easy
& don't puke on the floor
she pops her kit & finds the tenderest vein

& i'm tired. & here's the alphabet; go make your own poem while i sleep: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.
(later that same day): A & B & C & D & E & F & G & H & I & J & K & L & M & N & O & P & Q & R & S & T & U & V & W & X & Y & Z.

i finally made it home through the snow drifts. dog was standing upright at the end of his chain-twenty million years of evolution speeded up by his bondage. he choked on his tongue; he howled gibberish at the shadow of my hand. "bad dog, mad dog," I said. slather was frozen in a mask of canine tragedy; slather was froth of december; slather was the ability of that dog's body to withstand extremes of temperature. at least that's what i had read. i dusted off a fallen branch. snow scattered like micro-chickens. threw it at dog. no yelp. then i understood, though i still didn't believe him. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUV & W. a fire engine flew by, the men clinging to her back like tree toads. the moon was nowhere to be seen. (where was Legion) i won't tell you about the wind. i refuse to tell you the number of cars that climbed and turned in the purple distance. or the number of their headlights, or of the existence of their implied wheels, and the number of times those wheels turned necessarily or unnecessarily on the ice-covered road to drive car X from point (guess) to point (guess again). i won't tell you that a rock, or a fern, or a tree is writing this section, because i would be lying. and i am not just freely associating at the typewriter. je est un autre. i am totally alone. dig? ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP, and on to infinity the dog of alphabets... would not, could not, speak. instead it stood at the end of its chain and watched me with a supernal intelligence. i quake yet when i think of it. the nobility of its head. our domesticated series of signs still has the wolf in it, and i cannot master it, cannot call out to that snarl in the darkness with a little piece of potted meat in my hand. i might reach out with confidence and draw a blood-spouting stump back. but Legion's trapped inside this sentence kneeling forever on the bathroom floor in Big Boy's on Wisconsin Ave, surrounded by dirty cotton an inch of steel half in half outta her left arm, & if she reads this she'll know i love her. & when she knocks her head against these written walls you'll hear.

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