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Jennifer Moxley

Four prose-poems


You live your days at gun point. Entertainment fails and desire feels fruitless, even compliments oppress. You have accepted that this repetition will kill you, though it remains your only hope. A fool’s despair? Oh for the days when a trough of mud held a universe of infinite meaning! The doors of the present block the way. In the right frame of mind any crucial five minutes could amuse the most restive psyche, despite which fact you feel certain that you could easily destroy a universe of time.
    Against the backdrop of your solitude the contentment of others repels you. At night you choke on your own putrid spit. Your beating heart cackles with joy at the recognition of tepid fear. Tick tock, tick tock. Will your body go on delighting in the news of another’s demise? Paralyzed by spiritual poverty it rages: “there’s never enough room for me!” With no new experience to feed it your amulet mind seeks asylum in visions of a falsified past.

The Line

True faith does not need the state to enforce it. It makes neither hope, nor a shroud. We will walk out of the visible and accept the darkness. We will find the line. It extends backwards thousands of years and forward even further. The utterance cup, the gentle metric, old words new mind lost time and loves. You sensed it all along, but the knowledge was hopelessly muddled by the inherent drive to author new life. Now cut the spittle line spun into reason and enter the grave alone.
    Or write. Find time in words. Replace yourself cell by letter, let being be the alphabetic equation, immortality stay the name.

Mystical Union

Infused with an early century’s fatigue you dream you can never wake up. Your thought, a small dot on the horizon, is overtaken by traffic. Huge semis whiz by issuing noxious black smoke. Are they pushing the world’s cheap goods onto the local market? Everything’s plastic and bright. Mimics of vulgar joy, the people refuse their misery. In between moments of stupor they awkwardly waddle forward. Are they to blame?
    You dream the end of life has been forsaken by a world in ruins. Someone performs an amputation to tie the resources up. Your children are threatened not by a system but by a single unethical man. The air shimmers. You step off the curb into nothingness where the line offers itself to your hands. Grab hold or fall. Happy in the thought you might never recover you consign your trust to a flimsy thread that nobody else can see.


The empiricist has written: bipartite divisions are false. Truth / not truth a non-truth. The enslaved are the worst custodians of liberty though they are good examples to the free. Without them we are nothing. And we are not free but in name. The examiner remains steadfast, confounded by squandered energy. “I have only one lifetime and a stone” he says with a wearied sigh. He is like the hermit crab on the shore: begging, defenseless, and without greater shelter than the evanescent translucence of a temporal shell.

Jennifer Moxley, 2005

Jennifer Moxley, 2005

Jennifer Moxley lives in the US (in Orono, Maine). She is a contributing editor of The Poker magazine (Boston). Her most recent book is Often Capital (Flood Editions).

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