Wess Mongo Jolley ~ So Little Light Finds Its Way Into Our Alley

It was the single eyebrow
and your painful limp
in March snow

It was your hungry smell
the way you sweated blood
and cried bitter wine
into the spring fresh air

It was the broken fingernail
the tangled hair
the old dirt
between your toes

It was the parts you shed
like a leper in a footrace
frozen bits floating down
the river of our love

I adored the fact that you were not whole
or clean
or happy

No one else could be so content
in my smoldering alleyway of lies
or so enthralled by my abstract hate
for supermodels full of teeth

So it was me you chose
in your dope filled haze
me you pulled into your dumpster
amid your dead roses and
shiny sour cat litter

And I was content to keep you there
content to help dismember you
remember you September you
all through Fall

I would have been with you to the end
until there was nothing left of you to love
but the stink of your brilliant stolen loafers

But you couldn’t wait
couldn’t keep it together
had to fly
into pieces of abstract street music
without words
without words
out with the words

They’re out and you’re gone and I
wait and watch
for planes to crash into our alley

And the cats bring me dead
birds every spring
long flights for nothing

Their wing muscles are stiff
and it takes hours to
file them neatly on the high windowsills

My eyebrows have grown together now
and I only remember every other syllable
of every other word
you used to use

I stir them together in a greasy soup
can to make new versions of you
but the flavor never seems right

Perhaps you are made of mice
old cat litter
fresh bird feathers
and broken vowels

I suppose I’ll leave our alley soon
leave the pigeons and the cats
cross the gum spotted concrete
brave the asphalt and the taxis full of wolves

If I do I’ll check my eyes at the corner
and feel for dirt between my toes

I’ll keep it in this soup can
with the bird feathers, the mice and
the cat litter that I still refuse to let go

I’ll skip with your shadow along the center line
force a limp and twirl your hair
until this street collapses in laughter

And as this city spins to a stop
I’ll catch enough consonants
floating on the breeze
to write your name in flame
across this tiny snatch of sky
that you left
in my tattered
coat pocket


Wess Mongo Jolley is a poet and poetry promoter living in Vermont. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Performance Poetry Preservation Project (http://poetrypreservation.org), and is most well known for hosting the IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel podcast (http://performancepoetry.indiefeed.com) for more than ten years. As a poet, his work has appeared in Off The Coast, PANK, The New Verse News, Danse Macabre, The November 3rd Club, The Legendary, decomP, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, RFD, Warrior Poets, and in the Write Bloody Press book The Good Things About America. He lives on a ten acre parcel in rural Vermont, with his partner, various members of his clan, a failing vegetable garden, and an unidentified monster that has been known to chase visitors out of the woods if they dare to venture too far from the light. He is an urban poet, trapped in a rural body. He can be found on the internet at http://wessmongojolley.com, and at mongo@wessmongojolley.com

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