Jess’s Gesturing

Jess, behind the counter, motioned
at everyone, as if gesturing were completely
natural, as if it wouldn’t eventually destroy
her, her home, her friends, her lovers, as if
it weren’t responsible for the enslaved kids,
the ones driven by remote control, with
the steel in their gums. Her motions
were like swastika limbs, all dangling
through midair. The wildest of her gesturing
took the form of smallish wrist and hand
movements, as if holding invisible forks or
pistols or the strings to some wild puppet.
I often marveled at her brashness. The way
she would just flick her hand into the air within
close proximity of her body. She acted totally
normal, like this gesturing wouldn’t solve
the mysteries of dark gemstones, like
all the mirrors in the world weren’t turning
in their graves. Of course, I mean all of the dead
mirrors. The live mirrors aren’t turning in their
graves but they are wincing, big time. I feel like
a glacier somewhere, sometimes. As if her
gesturing isn’t real at all. Like we’ll make it.
Like we’ll all really make it.


When I Was the Writer

I remember a time when I wrote
something and gave it to a friend.
She must have read it because later
she said, I read what you wrote.
This was a time when people wore
long red cloaks and all words were sung.
I was swaying but then suddenly
forgot the radio wasn’t on. Puttering
was big in those days, too, so I puttered.
Again, this time, almost by accident,
I tried to write myself out of myself.
It was no fun, this poking and restarting.
But how else to solve the weird light?
I felt a droning shift as the bird moved
across the sun. I felt a twinge
of something almost robot.
But there was no red dot in the forest.
Even as cars turn corners, there
was no appeasing the gut.


Peter's latest book of poems is TINA. He's otherwise been able to publish in good journals like forklift, Ohio, Court Green, and inter|rupture! More info at