Author Archives: jeniferwills

How Stupidly We Squander

The terror grows larger,
swallows hope
and stars,
as her eyes begin
to bulge, rounded fingers
clutch air unable
to sink claws
into the nothing
her son
has become.
This woman is chasing
with grief, mind
moving far too quickly
toward loss
and resignation.

Having happened
upon her small son,
her two year old,
on the third floor
when the elevator
doors opened
to his what me grin, I got
to be the hero.
I placed her
heart in her hands
still beating
and smelling faintly
of shitty diapers
and fishy

It took
all the will
I had not to sob
with relief
drawn by a wooden
bucket from some
deep well
I still
don’t understand.

For love, you
would pray to a god
in which
you don’t believe
to give you death,
disease, insanity.
For love, you
would travel
to hell for the whatever
wherever, why because,
because, shhh because
it’s okay.
For love,
You would write
their name
one hundred times
on your graphing
For love, you
would watch
them leave
and abandon you
as their heart
stopped beating.

Ciao, Bella

This is the island
from where I send out
bottles of an endless
supply found in the ship
of drunks from which I
came to this island
from where I send out
bottles sparkling
crystal green each day
passengers of languid waves
going toward your place.
This is the island
from where I send out
bottles to anyone
who will always be you in which
the messages are varying declarations
of I love you, I still
love you, I will
always love you
or sometimes




This is the island
where you are not now
and will never be
any more than the vampire
I was so sure
would arrive to take me away
on the day of
my thirtieth birthday.

men are

ken doll chests contradicting
themselves with fuzzy
hair and cool, firm clay
to lay your head upon
and close your eyes.

hands shaped from granite, sculpted
by standards, goals,
and expectations
that lose their shape
and become formless
to hurt you
when they’re angry
or yield fingers
to touch
and hold you when
you please them.

plump bottom lips
with tiny lines
that split them while
sleeping or suffer themselves
as tightropes spewing
hurtful things
when they split yours.

adonis thighs,
ice sculpture photographs
of marathon
running – and running
out when you
need them, falling
down stairs
to a busted up tooth,
a broken bank account,
and a sleepless night
watching porn
while you sleep tossing
in the bed you share

Copy of Your Vagina

There is no such thing as love.
Only degrees of sexual attraction
and the horrible things
we do to each other
when the novelty
wears off.


I remember your body
in slide show, memories
shaped as by too much sun
in my eyes, as if composing
paintings from things seen
with my fingers spread
over my face,
peeking out
from in between.

Don’t look at my fat
you’d say, smiling
mostly serious.
Topless, your nipples
resembled those
on the playtex bottles
you fed us from as babies, dark
and cylindrical
when erect.

What was said
about your body?  Your hands
covered your belly
when naked,
your bra always on,
cross your heart,
no underwire, diaper pins
attached to the straps
long after we’d outgrown
the diapers.

I heard your brother
and his boyfriend
call you
whale on the beach,
the chant we laughed
at while watching
Portland Wrestling.
As a girl, I thought you
both sexless and invincible.
Why did you never
buy yourself new panties?

You Are So Beautiful to Me,
you played the record
over and over
so loud, repeating,
vinyl popping, speakers
overloaded, crackling, distorting.


You Are Not Here

My shadow’s shadow skims
of my body,
more viola
than violin.

The Internet Ruined Poetry – and Maybe I’m Partially Responsible

I reached a point where I couldn’t be asked to read another poem, to comment on another poem for someone who didn’t really care about constructive criticism and who I knew just wanted me to tell them how fucking brilliant they were. I reached a point where I couldn’t lie. I reached a point where I couldn’t deal with the self-importance of people who wanted me to read their shit. There was a point where I came to the realization that nobody really cared what anyone else was writing and nobody really cared about craft and everyone just wanted you to tell them how fucking brilliant they are or worse – how irresistibly sexy.

I’d read over my own website and think shit shit shit shit. I’d try to comment to people constructively to be told that’s how they meant to do it. They didn’t need to remove the five hundred useless adverbs because that would remove the meaning. They didn’t need to remove the clichés because if something is a cliché it just means that it’s true. So I stopped commenting. And I stopped reading.

Here was a lonely woman who so admired Sylvia Plath. Here was a man who was writing about strippers and drinking. Here was a woman who wanted to let you know she had been beaten. Here was a woman who wanted you to look at her boobies while she ranted to you about feminism. Here was a man who wanted you to comment. Please read. Please comment. Please read? What do you think? When really no one gave a fuck what I thought unless I was saying Oh My God You Are So Fucking Brilliant.

Poets pumping out a poem every five minutes, hiding behind the façade that to put more time in is to be a sellout. To edit is to lose meaning. To care too much is to rob the poem of its soul when really they didn’t fucking care and really they were just fucking lazy. They pumped out the poem to have it read. They pumped out the poem because they were only as good as their last because there are so many fucking poems and so many fucking poets you only remember a poet until you click on the next link on facebook or tab to the next blog or click the next fucking title on my own goddamned forum.

And for the most part, I quit writing.

I do not want to buy your chapbook. I do not want to submit to your anthology. For fuck’s sake, I don’t even want to publish my own anthology.

What I really want is to explode the internet and wipe the slate clean. I want to lie on my bed and read Keats. I want to work arduously on a poem for a week. I want to read one poem for days. I want to think. There’s so much poetry. There are so many meaningless poems and empty words that I cannot even think. I want to think without reading a billion facebook posts about how someone is sorry that they are behind in tags. What the fuck are we doing because this sure the fuck isn’t poetry.

None of this shit makes me feel anything.

The last LiteraryMary anthology will be published online. Then the site will be shut down and hopefully all traces will disappear. And hopefully sometime I will feel like reading poetry again. And hopefully sometime I will start writing again. For me.

Never Enough

she wasn’t pigeon toed so much
as knock kneed
and I followed behind her
stealthily. I mostly never
wear shoes with soles
that make sound
and I’m constantly sneaking
peeks at myself
reflected in the glass
of the windows
of businesses.

me- I can’t even keep
from losing my glasses, me –
I sit here listening
to the knock – kneed girl talk
about herself
before class. And talk. She
actually won’t stop talking
about how she just missed
the mark
of genius, but how
her little brother got it.
She’s waiting for her
transcripts from Reed. She’s
cross legged, wagging her foot
in a bubble-gum pink
sweater and skinny jeans.
She says she needs
to graduate
for chrissakes.

me – last weekend I went
driving, out to the country
trying to spread grief, longer
and thinner behind me like
not enough mayonnaise
on bread for a sandwich, just far
enough to make it back without
falling asleep.

he – interrupts
to inform me that I don’t
talk enough and I need
to speak more

I followed her again
after class through the rain
me – in converse
and no umbrella
hers – black with fish
all over it, salmon
fish swimming
through downtown Portland
and rain boots
with yellow tops
on them.

I stood in the cover
of the parking garage
and watched her disappear, knees
careening off each other
around the corner, her
shape reflected off
the window
of the building.

On a Good Day

His bones twice
the vastness his
chest a bone yard
plucking each
with my finger
print tips next
his beard growing
pepper brush bristles
his voice I can’t touch crystal-
lined by his life cookie
cut by our love
amber bone box resin
made mettle
by us.

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