Tuesday 26 April 2022

Four Poems by Jay Passer




I admit

I want a sleek black Benz

and a 4-car garage

and my studio reached by tunnels

in the northern California reaches

the Pacific O not far

for sojourns, including bonfires

and now that I can see the stars

let me doze on the hump of beach

and ponder cosmos

my driver awaiting

as I drink from my flask

an elixir not of this world

but from dreamscapes of old guys

like William Blake

or Hieronymus Bosch

with the peep of Miss Dickinson

forever tickling my scrotum

I confess

in my world Emily's Korean

and knows all the ins and outs

of perfectly fermented kimchee

while I wield my nakiri

I got a stable of thoroughbreds

I got a mansion the size of Atlantis

and places to go, like the moon, or Saturn

flat on my back caressing the curvature of the earth

the Pleiades behind my Ray-Bans

nurturing some

new flower






somebody's getting banged

or burglarized


or eating a grilled cheese


having a quiet drink

watching a re-run

betting against

the home team



somebody's shooting up

staring at the wall


or walking the dog

putting laundry

in the dryer

raping some autistic girl

poisoning the pigeons


while elsewhere


reduced to a husk

by taxes

by arthritis

by teetotalism

by television

by lethargy


while in the 1% spectrum

it's a party

a banquet

a wedding

a victory


one day

after the other

the only surprises being

a microbe

or a virus

some libidinous scandal

or terribly random accident

just a blip

a hiccup

a drop of dust in a speck of bucket

beyond the pale

before business as usual


one day after




In an emergency

it's a racecourse for fire engines and ambulances.


inferno in the theatre,

a high-school shooting,


a furor at the nail salon-

telle est la vie.


In alleyways the tent-villagers turn and gawk

before resuming jonesing.


It's not considered grave until the helicopters arrive;

choppers, drones hovering in the backyard,


barbecue in a tornado-

quick, where's the kids,

'cause it's high time for

target practice at the preschool.


There's a crisis, a cannonade in the making

spurned by chequered flags,


the Jolly Rogers of Indianapolis,

Le Mans, Daytona, Monaco.



I got a beard like Rumi,


Walt Whitman,



it's wild and intangible;

a briar patch of alien



neither Adonis nor Apollo,

not David with his sling.


in the end, though

despite my infinite excuses

I'm really just a lazy bastard

who hates shaving.

Jay Passer's poetry and prose has appeared in print and online since 1988. He is the author of 12 collections, most recently The Cineaste, from Alien Buddha Press, 2021. Passer lives and works in San Francisco, the city of his birth.

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