Tag Archives: Jessie Janeshek

“Madcap / Cabin Fever” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Mari Lwyd by Rhŷn Williams (Hogyncymru) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
“Madcap / Cabin Fever” is one of four sharply sensuous & sleekly surreal poems by the spectacular Jessie Janeshek in our Summer 2018 issue.

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MY HABITS ARE BAD                        I don’t know what’s at the wheel
                 sleeping long days              dreaming dead deer
                                      or deer horns or nothing.
Alive alive-o                                            forms a good number
                 crumbling old letters        feast or fiesta
but this blue candle         does not smell like fall
                                      and I can’t tell if the groan
                                  is my home or an animal
or why I am walking this ice storm alone
                 devil gloves and pink puffballs
                                                                    the starlet zone code
                 in a world without love when this could be Hollywood.

                 The fine-fingered winged girls
black lips/silent o’s
                 but I don’t have enough time between assaults
to let my hair grow back natural
                 so I find icy playboys
the ways their lips tingle with scotch
                 give the white high heels another shot
                                  vow I’ll be productive
drink less or more             little sips     vow I’d be better
                                      off in lands of moors
                 since I can’t stand your voices.

                 Introductions are worthless
you know my winged liner
                 another faux fur  and this is the dusk
through which I tote a glass lantern
                 through money and glitter
and Mari Lywd gloaming
                 and there’s not enough coffee
to mix with the liquor        before we jump in the roadster
                 or the river.

In the film I’m the dead aunt
                 and the contemporary ghost of myself
too afraid to move and I’m afraid I’ll lose
                                      men, cigarettes or electricity
                                                                    my cologne smells like moss
                                      and I’ll find places to hang
                 my photos of Jean Harlow’s graves
                                      and we’ll meet in the bathroom
                                      and fuck in our bathrobes
                 as the topcoat smooths everything.

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JESSIE  JANESHEK‘s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia(dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.


“We Make Our Own Ghosts” – A Conversation with Jessie Janeshek

Nobody has contributed more poems to our weird little zine over the years than Jessie Janeshek, and it’s not even close. It’s because her poetry so perfectly captures that easily-recognizable-yet-hard-to-define quality known as “flappiness” that we look for in the work we publish. (One of her recent contributions, “Delicate / Cheap,” was posted here last week.) Jessie has had poetry appear in other excellent publications like Potluck, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among dozens of others. She’s also the author of numerous chapbooks & collections, including The Shaky Phase, published earlier this year by Stalking Horse Press.

Jessie recently exchanged emails with our managing editor Joseph P. O’Brien about her poetry, as well as the sorrow of nostalgia, the allure of Golden Age Hollywood, and the ghosts of our own creation…

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JO’B: To me, your poems feel both spontaneously, almost subconsciously crafted, and yet also meticulously assembled from vintage / antique parts. How much subconscious spontaneity and how much meticulous assemblage would you say plays a part in your writing process?

JJ: I really like this description of my work, so thank you! It’s both lyrical and accurate. I would say that many of the phrases and images used are subconsciously generated. I take a lot from dreams and memories, and I jot down random phrases that come into my head, often while I’m exercising or just ostensibly focused on something else. I also use lines from films, articles, songs, etc. Putting these parts together on the page is where the “meticulous assemblage” comes in. I’m very deliberate about how the parts come together to make the whole. I recall reading an interview with Kim Addonizio quite a few years ago where she referred to her revision process as a “comb-over,” a need to go back through her work and fill in the sparse parts. I do something similar in subsequent drafts of my poems; my writing process often feels like a layering process.

(Here’s a link to the interview with Addonizio. I found it again by googling “kim addonizio” and “comb over” to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.)

JO’B: Do you practice any particular rituals or traditions to write, or to otherwise activate the more creative / intuitive realms of your mind?

JJ: Nothing too interesting or magical. It is usually a little hard for me to get started, if only in the sense that writing is harder than reading news articles on my phone or watching TV or petting a cat or listening to music or just existing. So, I usually put my phone in another room; otherwise, I’m tempted to mess with it any time I get stuck for a second. I usually sit on my couch. I have a journal of on-going notes, as well as a clipboard and a stack of typing paper with notes like more than an inch high. Sometimes I look at them; sometimes I don’t.

I usually have a glass of ice water and something caffeinated. Eighty-five percent of the time it’s strong coffee with a bit of cream and one sweet and low; the other 15% of the time it’s diet pop. (I was told the other day that my use of the word “pop” to describe a carbonated beverage is “so colloquial.”) Sometimes I light a candle or three, but not always.

I will say that even though it can be hard to get started, I’m much happier and saner if I’m writing for a bit every day or at least every other day. If I don’t write for like a week, my brain really starts to feel out of whack.

I write in the afternoon. I hate the morning, and I like to do my reading at night.

JO’B: In your recent interview with Kailey Tedesco for Rag Queen Periodical, you said of your poems’ speakers that “most of the time they’re just nostalgic and sad.” What are your personal feelings about nostalgia? Do you generally see it as a sad thing?

JJ: Yes. As I learned in a college course on Greek and Roman literature, nostalgia literally translates to “a longing for home.” Looking at a past, a home, that I know I can never get back to, is sad to me. The rational part of me is well aware that I’m seeing things from the past in soft focus, both on and off the screen, and that the past has its flaws, just as the present does. The irrational part of me thinks the pasts—and I make it plural, whether it’s my adolescence in the 90s or the 1920s of a film I’m watching—are so much better. And I can never get back to them. And the irrational part of me is where the poetry comes from.

Continue reading “We Make Our Own Ghosts” – A Conversation with Jessie Janeshek

“Delicate / Cheap” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

“Delicate / Cheap” is one of five quintessentially flappy poems by Jessie Janeshek in our Summer 2017 issue.

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I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU                                                            doped and thick
                  not going to kill you                                                       old shouldered
       red incense        red saints
but Paris was one of my places
                  where they kept saying                                               seaweed and ketamine
and           what is the name of your station?

 Delusion is one kind of service
                  and beauty is truth                                                        in drink and black roots.
Harlouche stories are blue
                  Theda Bara reading your Tarot through three generations
transmuting frustration-green snakeskin
                  around her an aura of snow.

Step down/open up                                                                         an era of bad on both sides
                  New York City                                                                   an ice blue Saturday night.
                  Move through the store                                                                w/ your blue eyes on top
tableted paper or pills.                                                                    Figure out Marilyn
                  in front of the falls or the fog.
The world was so friendly                                                              the bridal veil slick
                  her walk opening up
but what is your signal?

We weren’t the brownettes                                                            throwing shoes or preserving
                  the notion of marriage
flickering cocaine                                                                               and vanitas into each other
                  how Baby moved                                                              in her sailor blouse
                  transmuting Vs                                                                   toward rot at the altar
wouldn’t drown out                                                                           in her white fur at night
                  and so what if it was puppetry
kabuki and pretty                    when they kept saying
                  we can’t believe Harlow’s no more
and what are we doing it for?


Note: A few phrases in this poem are taken from page 317 in the sixth edition of the Radio License Q & A Manual by Milton Kaufman (New York: John F. Rider Publishing, 1957).

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JESSIE  JANESHEK‘s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia(dancing girl press, 2016), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book 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 jessiejaneshek.net.

“The Flesh the Grave Cave Ate, Volume One” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Female Spirit of the Night - Remedios Varo
Female Spirit of the Night – Remedios Varo

“The Flesh the Grave Cave Ate, Volume One” is one of five marvelous & mystical poems that Jessie Janeshek contributed to our Summer 2016 issue. To read all five, help yourself to a copy of FLAPPERHOUSE X!

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I DON’T WANT YOUR GLASS BONG                     your glowing pills
                    amber-coated costumes
the blue fluff of decadent saints                in the wood-paneled retrograde

the littering bodies under blonde signs
the blow jobs at the playground               so desperate I’m sloppy.

Something must be out there
                    a bare ass                a baldness                        a god moving in
I try to determine why to keep going

                the broken ghost at the pier mimicking tenderness
beyond night and orange cages and sleepy babies.

I have become               a black-lipped wax monster
                sustaining my fuck-ups         red coat pockets stuffed with plague spices

and the abominable thing is she wants my mineral thunderstorms
my finger-print high heels                      my tattooed value judgments

                                                        and summer descends like an alien ship
                                                        since I wear a striped bra           and an inflatable cock
                                                        under my witch cheerleader costume.


Note: “The flesh the grave cave ate” is a phrase from Sylvia Plath’s poem “Lady Lazarus.” Continue reading “The Flesh the Grave Cave Ate, Volume One” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #9, in Pictures

An endless universe of thank-yous to everyone who helped make Reading #9 such a gone gas: Abigail, Billy, Ron, Jack, Leland, and Jessie for performing your flappy lits; Alibi for your groovy singing & luscious photography; Pacific Standard for being such gracious hosts as always; and all you bang-tail cats who came out to watch. Let’s do this again on September 21…

(photos by Alibi Jones)

(we also streamed portions of last nite’s reading on Facebook Live!)

AbigailReadingAbigail Welhouse performs some poetry from her collection Too Many Humans of New York

BillyReadingBilly Robison shares some of the highly unusual emails from his father

RonReadingRon Kolm reads his raunchy James Joyce riff “Finnegan Joyce”


The late Jack Kerouac offers a taste of his novel-in-progress On The Go.


Leland Cheuk reads an excerpt from his novel The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong


All the way from West Virginia, Jessie Janeshek recites a few of her flappiest poems


FHR9poster2Times are bum, and getting bummer– still we got fun, and we’re gonna have loads of it at our 9th Reading on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3rd from 7 – 9 PM at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard! Starring LELAND CHEUKJESSIE JANESHEKALIBI JONESRON KOLMBILLY ROBISON, ABIGAIL WELHOUSEthe late JACK KEROUAC, & maybe more to come…

Admission is 100% FREE, and you can buy print copies of FLAPPERHOUSE X there for the special price of just $5, or our YEAR TWO anthology for just $10.

“So Much for the Sound of a Starboard Warp Whistle” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek

Peacock and Crocodile - Maria Primachenko, 1937
Peacock and Crocodile – Maria Primachenko, 1937

No poet has contributed more pieces to our weird little zine than Jessie Janeshek, and we’re ecstatic to have five of her marvelous, mystical poems in our Summer 2016 issue. One of those poems, “So Much for the Sound of a Starboard Warp Whistle,” is below, and you can read the rest by purchasing FLAPPERHOUSE X in print or digital (PDF) editions. (And if you’re in the NYC-area on August 3rd, you can come hear Jessie perform at FLAPPERHOUSE Reading #9 at Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard!)

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I NEED THE PURENESS                                          that’s hard on the kidneys
              a blue faux leather jacket                                         your unused breasts.

              I need white paper                                          five years of service
shuffling the room                       in Ouija board shoes

              striped socks thinking of you              the dead cat on the mattress
a peacock for sickness           its noose on my ankle.

                                                     You said we were headed       for doom or the door
the saint’s wheel an orange brain                                  too much in one basket.

                                I’m not learning the rain
                                one black knot in our aspect

but let’s plan a murder                                                                          for when you get stuck
              hearing that sex                                                       or the light clears your head.

                                Depression is lazy                                I hate all the babies
              morality plays                       in a foreign language.

                                      I let the door crack                    for a merman-shaped angel
                            a sweetheart-grip gun.

                                                                         I build asylum
                                with thick wooden blocks                      one finger in

                   my seizing crotch.                         My eye sockets jingle
                                              a sunshine          a gingham-skirt suicide

                    so much our monster                   ascends metaphor
                                                                your red and white candle
                                                                                   removing its jinx.

{ X } Continue reading “So Much for the Sound of a Starboard Warp Whistle” – Poetry by Jessie Janeshek