1. how many times
    do you have to
    replay the robot’s
    memory track
    over for him
    before he remembers
    it and recognizes
    it as his

    how many times
    does a human
    tell the same
    story
    over again
    and over
    again
    before they
    believe it

     

  2. first crush

    i met her in kindergarten
    before my boy cousin
    even registered
    as anything other than
    stinky dirty competition
    for affection

    she was a blonde
    farmgirl
    in a white dress
    with bright blue tiny
    flowers all over it
    cinched at the waist
    white bobby socks

    i could not from the very first moment

    decide if
    i wanted more
    to be her
    or to have her
    and from then on
    evermore

    the same dilemma
    or similar

    haven’t heard from her in years
    last i did
    she was a young republican
    divorced and enrolled in military service

    gross
    i am cured
    of her

    now
    but never
    then

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  3. dirt mound and cloud chambered

    in need
    in need of
    in need of easy
    in need of easy alchemy

    magic
    to turn my lawn
    into a vegetable garden, goats
    bees and a small apple
    orchard then construct an earthen
    camera obscura half buried
    half built of stacked
    stones with a pinhole to burn
    the white concave wall inside
    into a reflective
    image drawn
    by light
    poking through
    true as the shape
    of my heart
    through my shirt
    through my blood
    past the dirt

    shining into that opening
    tiny and persistent
    as love

    trees in the woods
    rain and sun

    earthlife

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  4. learning to afford it

    I said our parents always love us more than we love them. I meant it. But that’s not to say we don’t love them back. In our own way. 

    A child’s love for her parents is, I believe, a revolutionary act. A recursively revolutionary act. A revolution within a revolution in favor of a revolution against itself. A waltz and a polka and a do-si-do all in one, a victorian ballroom line dance spun like a ballet square dance in a barnyard  turned punk, turned freestyle. Or something. 

    The child revolting both against the household and against herself in the course of a lifetime of being an offspring. First we see through and forgive, then revolting we separate, rebel, declare independence against those very parents we are born hardwired to love and be loyal to.

    We blame them for creating us then resent their care for us. We know they are full of their own shit but still can’t help, as the youngest children, to overlook it in our worship of them. Before we get tall enough we ignore all our own best instincts, which are not in favor of trusting them in any way shape or form, and then later we forgive them so completely even after we’ve long admitted how horribly wrong we are 100% certain they were, from the very beginning. 

    It’s full on revolutionary war we’ve declared. Against our selves and against them from the moment we refuse to stop loving them, from the second we come out no matter how hard we try to do it well or just quit. We love them sickeningly.

    We can’t not forgive them, but we can’t forget how wrong they’ve done. We must acknowledge our anger and then keep on loving and then some. We owe them, after all. We owe them everything. Every good and every horrific thing is due to them but, seeing how it’s us who is stuck with it, we can’t exactly absolve ourselves from responsibility either. 

    No one group can impress a revolution upon another. Whenever we revolt we take ourselves along with the other, for the descent and the rebuilding-ation. For the fall and the rebirth we all go by grace of the force in togetherness.

    It’s the muck of it. Intergenerational humanism. It feels so weird, so inhuman, like, it’s really for the birds. Or something. 

    But we’re not eagles. Not rats, not pigeons. Not hawks even. {Magpies, maybe.} At any rate, we are stuck with ourselves, before, after and during the revolution. We cannot not find a way to stay human. 

    We can’t afford it. 

     

  5. crawled over

    bleached white wheat
    flour sprinkled with pepper

    grey dust off slate
    gravel

    rocks in the alleyway
    particle-ized
    silk into powder

    sand rendered
    so fine
    so miniaturized
    it feels more

    tender
    than skin

    turn the word
    for the soft
    fabric worms
    spin into a verb

    move a body
    of water like
    water floating
    over water

    into me
    silk into me

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  6. no other reason

    skating on one leg
    talking to the stranger
    who trails behind
    an approaching
    smile wide
    having an idea
    holding hands
    causing trouble
    playing action figures
    squinting to see double
    groping a statue
    prowling a library
    while high stepping
    exaggeratedly
    with one leg

    the other one
    than you skate on

    just for symmetry
    and for freedom
    's sake

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  7. woman in blue

    imagine an unpredictable tide
    incoming fast
    a history of rogue waves
    occasional and past
    the breaking legs
    of the cabin
    rebuilt
    again and again
    a temporary sanctuary
    for the overnighting
    fisherwoman
    her boat
    tied high
    up
    the cliff
    her swim
    to the surface
    practiced and swift

    see her there
    strong limbed
    rising in blue

    to the vessel
    she prepared
    to save herself
    above
    waiting
    tethered
    true

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  8. blue sky water only endless
    the occasional tiny flower
    never light

    only incandescent
    sun fire old
    fashioned bulb
    monitor that reads
    like paper

    fresh hydration
    and wi-fi

    keys to the bermuda
    escape success
    story

     

  9. So many ways to cut the ginger root in a shape that makes sense to you, looking like something else it isn’t. The short cut and the long way home. The carving, marinated, rope and cord web hung thick with sheets of words. 

    My dad won the lottery and didn’t share it with me, before and afterward he disowned me, repeatedly. Three times to be exact he said, I don’t ever want to see you again.

    But I forgive him and here’s why. Because I was his abyss. When I was born he saw the stark truth of being alone and also unbearably connected all at once to the whole world and it broke him. I was his abyss but he will not be mine. I will not be broken. 

    He soothes himself, I imagine. He tells himself: this way jill is better off without me. To me, this is the most hateful paradox he could conjure. And the biggest reason I feel I must forgive him. 

    So much energy. It would take so much energy to out-logic clock him in this self-defense. I mean, the best revenge is living well, I get that. But he’s fixed it so that he has predicted it {dick}. So that if I do well {i.e., better without him} then he gets to be right. 

    I hate dudes who think being right is a reasonable substitute for being human. This is why. 

    The game with your parents is always rigged. They will always love you more than you can possibly love them. But still you can’t ever quit. Hardly.

    Whatever you do, you kind of have to forgive them. Boiled all the way back what you forgive them for most is forcing you to exist. In the first place. 

    The only way to beat them is to forgive them. Because if you don’t forgive them…?

    You become them.

    And then you can never forgive yourself. Either. And that’s just a silly way to live. 

    I tell myself stories about the romance inside an onion. The way it makes you cry when you cut into it. How do I know. It’s the evidence. Every story, just folds over and into more and more stories. 

    The short cuts. The long ways home. It is all truth and it is most certainly fiction. There is no difference.

     
  10.  

  11. tall order

    after having
    known so many
    made so many
    how do you make
    a friendly
    how do you make
    friends
    with a 
    list

    i want one
    who is
    helpful
    comforting
    encouraging
    and not the least bit
    bossy

    don’t want much
    only everything
    if it is at all
    shiny

     

  12. places where even the summer cabin
    has a woodpile and a fireplace to match
    hearth stove and house out of the house
    for the relief of self and the sake of others

    places where the job of humans lies in
    all day walking in lines striding near
    another sometimes talking in
    between silences craft
    the story’s shape
    into truth

    it might be impossible
    to do exactly what you want

    in this contexted world
    we need a partner
    in breaking
    rules

    but to collaborate
    is to share
    to create
    someone else’s dream

    lure
    no compromise
    only hybrid

    rising like the mixture
    of fire and bird
    heat singing
    hard

    a hard
    hard song

    that is
    worth it

    however long
    before it’s gone

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  13. edict

    well young man
    based on what 
    you’ve told us
    about your desires
    your dreams
    your plans

    we have identified
    several careers
    that might fit
    your particular
    personal aspirations

    at the top of the list
    ranked in descending order
    from hardest to easiest professional
    path to gain entry into
    we begin with

    politician
    athlete
    police

    we might add
    the postal worker
    in the worst
    slang cliche’
    sense

    but the job fails
    to meet your needs
    since

    they don’t typically
    get away with it
    when they kill people

     

  14. dead grandmothers jiggle
    no door handles
    sleeping women never are
    left to lie
    the ones who know best
    their letters
    cannot tell a coyote
    from a wolf
    from a goat
    no matter how dressed up
    or naked their eyes

    the word on the street
    originates
    emanates straight out
    the military industrial
    complex
    snout

    it might have been
    less gluttonous
    if we had not refused
    something simple
    like truth
    like peace
    like forgiveness

    let alone
    what might have been
    had we tried
    as a country
    to get the message

    but we didn’t
    no we didn’t
    we just didn’t
    get it

    still don’t

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     
  15. stormy, jane, it’s been stormy
    ask the mush-
    rooms
    they know
    they know, love
    they know well

    Tagged #jillc