July 2019 Poetry Feature: J.J. Starr

Welcoming poet J.J. STARR to our pages.

Contents

  • Second Departure
  • I see a woman
  • My hurt for your missing is filed soft with a few smokes
  • Confirmation

Second Departure

I am, he said, and the multitudes fell back

Shapely spirit makes a sport of modifying bodies
As for our home, dog shit covered the carpets
She was my object, I could have held her like a stone

Kicked out or fled, who knows, she left for California

Made prodigal, her returning two months later
Two suitcases, a car & my brother, all else gone
Figurines, the dress from the wedding, the notebooks

Yes, it was just me & she comes back from the beginning

Dogs ran off, she said
The cats missing

Before the pets ran off
The ferret died

She kept love birds, gold and green, a cup of seeds

She made place in the chat rooms, her portal on a shelf
The healed tongue still holds under it a poison of asps
Seeking other poisons, my brother lit her hair on fire

An accident we all said, short after, the furniture changed

She met a man who wanted her & she wanted to leave
Sent the taxi to my father’s house, I didn’t go
I said there are no multitudes, just infinities of one body

I said I AM & made nothing from it but a shining coin

 

I see a woman  

who looks like you and it makes me
stop. You’re not even dead
yet but sometimes it feels that way.

I’m sad about it, I am. It’s not something I put on my wish list.

I want to disappear when I see a man
with the right kind of mustache.

I know you know what I mean, the things that pull us back

—back again to the rooms and the smell of them.

You’re so far away from me. I don’t just mean I haven’t seen you.
Why shouldn’t we have formed a family without you? Don’t
we all need one?

 

My hurt for your missing is filed soft with a few smokes

Pulling it in &—exhale    exhale
In my mind I see the bags deflated, squeezing from the bottom up.

I see you as you once were to me, my heart a little stone pumping cold into the night.
My heart is filled with longing for the earth
to be healthy again & this helps me forget

about you.
People carry holiday gift bags, though
January is halfway through.

Funny what will linger, hanging
about the wrist, sparkling
as if it’s still new.

 

Confirmation

Earth not filled with water, the saying thing spake it & it was

Pulpitted with his receding head & the tall body under oak
His robes dirty white, sage sash, he makes an altar song
Fine hands of gold, broken wafers, the challis with a napkin

Knelt at the round part, our many bodies & swords of teeth

The altar children we are & so we had the verses given
& wished lines to our bodies, which drew water & signified
Me in the robe, white dress under & then a white girl

I made blood already & I wanted people to know what I am

His anger turned away
Fortress, god my solitude

 

J.J. Starr is a poet and writer based in Amherst, MA. She attended the New York University Creative Writing Program where she was a Veterans Writing Workshop Fellow. She has received support from Wesleyan University and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Her work can also be found in Drunken Boat, The Shallow Ends, Juked, and The Journal among others.

July 2019 Poetry Feature: J.J. Starr

Related Posts

Growing up

November 2020 Poetry Feature: David Lehman

DAVID LEHMAN
Science explained everything, / the workings of windshield wipers, for example: / “The darkness causes the rain / and comes from the rain, which goes up / to the sky and falls down again / on the windshield and the windows.

Pine tree at sunset

July on South St. (AEAE)

NICK MAIONE
I open the doors and windows and shut off the lights./ For a while I play tunes on the fiddle / shirtless in my dark house. I love doing this. / For the first time all day I am not at home. / For the first time since the last time / my body is the same size as my flesh.

Beach at dawn

Claudia Prado: Poems from THE BELLY OF THE WHALE

CLAUDIA PRADO
with one strong arm she turns the steering wheel / and hangs the other out the Ford’s window / ashing a cigarette that could set fire to the whole earth / two women crossing a plain changed / by that slant afternoon light / forget the child in the backseat...