Living in Freefall


poems by

Jan Wesley

Poetry book, 80 pages, $12 cover price

($10 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-095-4

Released: 2007

***This title was selected for publication after finishing as a finalist in the 2007 MSR Poetry Book Award contest. ***

Prologue : The Problem With The Mail

He steps outside, wings an axe down
on erupted roots and splits the sodden

earth in two with the flat sides
of his knees as he sinks into tapering
roads that meander toward Saskatchewan.

I want to know the pretty women he finds
pet names for, which ones agitate
shoulders where feathers meet bone,

which ones press him into sand. I want
to fluff up the hair at the nape
of his neck and strut beneath freighters

of clouds, drag a toe, lead with elbows
to stretch and mock him with soft skin
that lies in its cavern beneath the tongue.

He curls under the shade of silhouette
to smoke a little before he trudges home
to slide around on rubber casters

of his desk chair by windows that
slam into the west face of the Rockies.

He slips on a pair of bifocals to read
my letter, feel my breath stand
on its own by his slowly reclining body

as I beg him to lend me his mouth, stuff
me like fowl, teach me to say anything.

Living In Freefall : I

We are not brushed together
by mistake, but choose to be
head down through space
splayed like pitched dice flying
through sailable aqua blue
catching splashes of long-shadow sun.
We have no time to worry
about insurance co-pays, hopeful
cures of the flesh, no time to dream
of past and future lovers mussing
up a back room bed as we rush
at each other with joy
and discernable relief. There is no
time to think of failure as the earth
charges up and surprisingly
our altitude shrinks and we pluck
explosive chutes that unfurl behind
like skirts of chartreuse dresses we flip
up to see the underside where people
often aren’t invited to go. We scurry
across a plain of acreage to bleed speed,
our birdlike status stripped, parachutes
deflated, summer heat on us like flies.
We open airtight suits, scratchy, steely
eyes recovered from triple-digit
winds, our minds unruly, every earthly
action shocked and returning slowly,
knowing boisterously we have lived
again over a swaggering sunset jimmied
into cackling, sometimes deadly, ground.
Icarus’s Ex

My second husband asks why I walk straight out
the side of a plane or sleep

in crevices
thousands of feet off the dirt

so I tell him
I succumb to the sky every chance I get.

I screech my wheels, demand we give up his
dedication to a mortar job on walls along a shed

pregnant with yard tools
but he won’t defer to sleek and razored peaks

like the Empire State where we could inhale
the sky deeply through our lungs.

I ruffle into a pout
as he walks head-down scowling recalcitrant

in quest for rakes and saws
that need to do their jobs. Like leaves,

like bursts of loose exhaust I fly off
to snag lingerie looped over umbrella-shaped

laundry wire as he narrows into a slip
of himself, popping veins dimmed to a stroke-me

chemise color as I snipe past him,
arrow-shaped above the brush of fire-starter hills,

until I swoop higher beyond lazy lay
and stroll of the land, until I can peek into windows

of single engine planes,
fighting for altitude, splitting the air rife

with atoms to constantly gauge that wavering eternal,
rebellious distance to the sun.

SKU: 978-1-59948-095-4 Category: Tag: