Seattle, Washington

30 September 2006

Five Poems

The Slowest Dance
Why Would Jesus Dream

Poet's Bio



the Duende loves ledges and wounds

At the end of our session, my therapist says,
“My gynecologist is left-handed, too.”  I tear

out the check, slide it across the coffee table. 
“Actually, I’m ambidextrous.”

“One hand washes the other?”
“If it’s dirty, yes.”

This is how we talk, how we listen—in duende
and innuendo.  To say it straight would be easy,

too soon.  We’ve got scabs to pick, prescriptions
to fill, 50 minutes to kill.  Why fall down a shaft

when you can float to the bottom?




There are tiny green speakers in the trees on Trinity
to scare away warblers, to keep them from shitting
on sweaty conventioneers shuffling inside, where air
is conditioned and colorless cameras bleed into walls

to scare away warblers, to keep them from shooting
a keynote whose words rest in the safe of his mouth
conditioned and white, hidden beneath the camera
he’s holding up to his face, pointing it at the sounds

coming from a tree, a speaker whose words wrestle
with real birds’ desires to leave their chalky marks
on dark shoulders and what’s on his face, pointing
feathers like Whitman’s rifle and scope at passers-by

with real birds’ desires to leave their chalky marks
on conventioneers shuffling inside, where feathers
sever the air like Whitman’s rifle and scope because
there are tiny green speakers in the trees on Trinity.




Last night you raised your hand
to speak about the speed of things

in the film—amazed at how she
takes the time to make tea, iron

a shirt—because you can’t even
take the time to make a sandwich

without forgetting to put something
else, anything, between the bread.

You also spoke of this rush as doing
violence to the self, just a day after

getting word of your cousin’s suicide.
She was a happy woman, you said,

and that you could not reconcile. This
is what I’m trying to reconcile, a thing

slower than domesticity or death: our
embrace at the end of a day, swaying

in the parking garage—a Muyerbridge
flipbook—still     still   still stillstillstill

stillstillstillstill   still     still      still.




Help yourself to what’s left: my hand—
calloused pinky, ring finger rubbing against
its wedding and a word—organs and wisdom
I don’t need. Here, take the teeth and tonsils.
The appendix before it explodes. Strip me
for parts and set me ablaze in this vacant lot.
Have your way with me. Hell, have a lung,
a yard of intestine. I’ll give you a drawer
in my stomach to store these dirty wings
from flightless birds, because you need me
more than I do.



why would jesus dream

the night before he knows
            he’ll be stapled to a cross—
                       at 33, arsenic’s atomic age

                       and how you “say cheese” in Spanish.
            Had the crucifixion been rained
out and Jesus French-Canadian,

he’d have been taken to his doctor’s
            office where she’d ask him to say trente-trois,
as she presses a stethescope

                       to his needled body, listening to last breaths,
            his lungs like an LP by Alexander the Great
and the Freemasons—while her other hand

would trace his spine, trying to account for all
            thirty-three of his vertebrae because that’s
                       the number a normal human being contains.



Jared Leising, originally from the Midwest, received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. His stories and poems have appeared in various Washington publications such as Pontoon, Crab Creek Review, Stringtown, as well as on Metro Buses and local radio. Jared has worked as a writer-in-residence for Ballard and Nathan Hale High Schools. Currently, he teaches English at Cascadia Community College and is a volunteer for 826 Seattle, a youth writing center in Greenwood.