Jessie Janeshek


I didn’t move today                               felt the temptation
             felt movie pressure                                like I should conjure engines.
I didn’t know which candle                   pink or white bullshit
             to help the jewel thief’s daughter
solve the crime.

I needed a night book                a day book                  a maze
             my party            my problem
brass lips           black confetti                the majorette dress
              Clorox and soap and dense days anointed with flame.
I sent the past some evidence
              her curls bleached so carefully
like a Marilyn zombie.                                 I sent the past some evidence
             you said we want to see the wig
                           you burned before the murder
             we want to see the cloche hat blood soaked in your distance.
We want to conjure             your ghost sans religion
               want to truss you up                           like a dead James Dean—

I’d died before that reel my spooky action
             her confession.        She became a better actress
at a distance                   the new wave.

I could come at any time.            I could cry the dog is old.
            He lost his teeth.                          I played three women in the movie
                                              or one man on TV.
I could use the whip ride            to hook you back in time
            starlet theosophy                         shove you to your knees.
You could sit on my grave          I could stick out my hand…

Jessie Janeshek's second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), and Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. You can read more of her poetry at