Archives for posts with tag: Jade

Grandma loves to
tell the story
when they were too poor
in the ‘50’s to buy Sunday
dinner, one day a guy
at the office struck them
a cheap deal – Grandpa
bought twelve live
chickens, three
to a metal cage.
Grandpa, always quiet
and gentle had never killed
a bird before, and she says,
laughing so hard
her eyecorners start to
buckle and swim,
that the first neck he took
an axe to ended
up pulped
as applesauce
before he could
tell if he’d
killed it.
They wheeled
their legs around after
their heads came off,
blood and grey
sticky feathers covered
the strawberry patch.
Grandma took a hose to it,
Grandpa put the birds
in the meat freezer,
and the boys, five and three,
watched from the kitchen
window, and little
Johnnie was crying.

-Jade Conlee



Fingers crumble around the leash of a dog
behind chainlink, sky burns through
the rainbow – no stop ‘til ash here just past
2nd Ave. it pools like fabric on the concrete,
and instead of the usual contest
of finger pads on metal
teeth lining the flowerboxes,
today hands wander through dirt-damp
roots, imagined cool of a petal-papered face
coupling with each hot inhale –
a ritualized rolling over under
covers toward an extinguishing glory –
Troy – famously inflammable, they say
the Trojans burned down their city,
they liked the smell of smoke.


Just as the Trojans smelled smoke
on their hands long after the sack

was forgotten, so my fingers are smoke-
soaked, and so are yours. Nothing happens

so quickly as flame: as you lit my cigarette
just now a man across the park disappeared,

his chess set left hovering
among dispassionate trees.


Nothing so slow as skin
to take in
the apple it owns.


We were at the Hudson down
by Prince St. in September,
the lamps staring down
on our curious smoke
paling into light like
letters hiding in words.


…and so Paris paled when he uttered
the word kallistēi, meaning “fairest,” …

…as if all the smoke that rose
rose as prayer from a censer, simple
stream from your lips, the body
of your breath, your embryonic thoughts…

kallistēi as in “fairest of five whippets,”
or “fairest assessment of my unrefined
passion for the female mouth”…


Paris was reading an apple, which is, of
course, neither flammable nor ephemeral,
and so of no interest to us at this time.


Your red wine whistles
behind the white fence, we
considered eloping, (afternoon
train sounds shuffle down 10th St.
all the little cars and clouds) but decided
you’re too much like an apple
and I’m too much
like a cigarette.

-Jade Conlee